Monday, March 31, 2008

The Adventures of Ford Fairlane - before the 80's were really over

This movie has a lot going for it, despite its reputation. It has Dice Clay, Ed O'Neill (Al Bundy from "Married with Children"), Gilbert Gottfried, Priscilla Presley, Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Wayne Newton, Morris Day, Tone Loc, Motley Crue, and David Patrick Kelly (Sully from Commando- Remember when I said I'd kill you last? I lied.) Never saw it back in the day, so 18 years later, here we go. I was in college at the time. I could have had an 18 year old kid to share this with. Instead I have Johnny aka Darth Milk. Thankfully we both have the minds of 18 year olds (and that's being generous, there are some mature kids that age).
Of course he drives a Ford Fairlane.

Andrew "Dice" Clay was an 80's phenomenon, who got lost somewhere in the shock-jock wars of the 90's. I saw his stand-up act in 2001, and he was still hilarious. He gave up trying to be a shock jock onstage, and went back to his roots of playing the Dice character. To me, it's always been a bit of self-parody akin to Archie Bunker, but some people just never got it. He had a reality show last year on VH1, about trying to make a comeback; apparently he is touring again. Now that he's balding and gone to seed, the Dice character works even better; he reminds me of my old man; that certain species of Jersey or Brooklyn guy who wishes it was still the 50's.
Dice does Bogey.

The Adventures of Ford Fairlane stars Dice Clay as a "Rock 'n Roll Detective," helping the stars with stalkers and whatever. The problem is he gets paid in gold watches and koalas, which don't pay the fuckin' rent, if you know what I mean. The mystery begins when hair metal douche Bobby Black (Vince Neil of Motley Crue) is murdered on stage. It's a good start. I've never understood metal bands with guys in make-up, unless it was KISS. Speaking of which, Rikki Rocket from Poison allegedly stuck his rocket in some Mississippi gal without her consent. Maybe they'll lynch him for the good of humanity (and music).
The requisite Annoying Kid character.

He's back at his kickass bachelor pad, where we meet his smokin' receptionist (Lauren Holly) and The Kid, who thank my balls does not have a big part in the movie. He mimics Dice and has a Fred Flintstone ring that matches his missing Dad's. The kid is fucking annoying, but he only has a few scenes. His receptionist wears glasses so you know he'll snub her until the end.
Gottfried got fried. Oh!

Fairlane gets a call from his old buddy the shock jock Johnny Crunch (played by Gilbert Gottfried) who needs him for a job. He wants to find his "lost daughter" ZuZu Petals. They get a few points for the It's a Wonderful Life Reference. Seconds after paying Ford to find her, Crunch is electrocuted to death on the air. Shock jock, get it? Yeah. Though seeing Gottfried die is somewhat gratifying. When the cops show up, Lt. Ames (Ed O'Neill) has a chip on his shoulder against Fairlane because he slammed his disco band. And we have to see Al Bundy sing "Booty Time," the low point of the film. Renny Harlin might be best despised for making the crappy Die Hard sequel, ruining his wife Geena Davis's career with Cutthroat Island (though admittedly she looks great in a pirate costume) and being named "Renny," he should be skinned and basted with habaƱeros in a feces-encrusted corner of Hades for making Ed O'Neill humiliate himself in this fashion. Thankfully, like the Kid, Ed only has a small and thankless role here.
You stick to comedy and I'll stick to singing.

Dice gets mixed up with this broad Colleen, played by Priscilla Presley (yeah, I fucked 'er) who also wants to find this Zuzu dame. That also leads him to sleazy record promoter Julian Grendel, played by Wayne Newton. Whoever told this Danke Schoen dork he could act should jump in front of a bus on the Vegas strip. Dice even gets to bang out a tune at the studio, and it doesn't sound like shit. Sort of like The Stray Cats on a bad day. While following more clues, he gets attacked by snapperhead Robert Englund, one of Grendel's henchmen, on Johnny Crunch's boat. Englund is always entertaining, and he chews the scenery awesomely here as the British inflected bad guy.
Pardon me, do you have any Grey fuckin' Poupon?

Ford ends up finding Zuzu at Bobby Black's funeral, where that snapperhead shows up again. He throws her in a limo and takes off, but the Diceman chases them all over the cemetery in a hearse. But there's this dead broad in it, with totally rockin' tits! Oh! And she's floppin' all over the place. The film gets a lot funnier at this point; it's almost as if they were telling Dice to hold back, and then he said "fuck 'em," or maybe the beers just kicked in at the midway point. This movie definitely benefits from liberal application of alcohol.
I hope you signed an organ donor card, baby.Gives a new meaning to deadhead. Oh!

The mystery clues that keep popping up are CD's, which sound like R2D2 visiting the proctologist when you play it on a stereo. Turns out it's a computer disk, you believe that shit? From here on in it's more of your typical comedy thriller with broads gettin' whacked left and right, climbing down the Capitol Records building with Freddy Krueger hangin' from your balls, and jerkoffs blowing up your house and your car like you're in some fuckin' Illegal Weapon movie or somethin'. Not to say that the Diceman can't handle it, but give a guy a break, alright?
He shoots a cool looking knife. Boo!

I'm not gonna ruin the ending for ya, but you can bet that the Diceman shoots the balls off the bad guys or kicks a garbage truck up their ass, gets the hot broad (who just happens to be his receptionist with her glasses off) and finds the little bastard's father. Oh!
Happy ending, whoa-oh!

If you're a fan of the Diceman and you haven't seen this already, you owe it to yourself to look it up. It's pretty funny and follows the typical 80's formula. If you overlook Ed O'Neill embarrassing himself and the kid, you got the trifecta of 80's requirements- quotability, quirkiness, and quim. It may have been released in 1990, but the neon phone, big hair, hair metal, and presence of late 80's icons cement this as an 80's movie. It's best when Dice is acting goofy, but a lot of the time he's too serious. Casual Sex? is a bit better, but Dice has a smaller role. If you haven't seen it, it's one of the better relationship comedies of the 80's. This one is great fun for Dice fans, but was obviously torturous for anyone else from the reviews it got.

Beers Required to Enjoy: 1
Quotability Rating: High
Cheese Factor: Medium
Could it be made today? Larry the Cable Guy is doing it now, badly.
Gratuitous Boobs: A cavalcade of cleavage, but no nudity.
High Points: A car chase with hearses through a cemetery.
Low Point: Ed O'Neill singing "Booty Time"

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