Well, first off, this movie really depends on your tolerance and personal enjoyment of Andrew Dice Clay and his particular brand of comedy, as this is a vehicle specifically designed for him. So, if you’re not a fan, there’s really no reason for you to see this movie and, therefore, you probably aren’t even reading this review. To be honest, I don’t count myself as a die-hard Dice fan, but, incredibly, I found myself chuckling at bits and pieces of this idiotic time-waster about a supposed “Rock N Roll Detective” investigating the murder of an outrageous shock-jock (Gottfried). I mean, with a cast including Dice, Priscilla Presley, Gilbert Gottfried, Ed O’Neill, and Wayne Newton (!), how seriously can you really take this stuff?
Ford Fairlane (Dice) is “Mr. Rock N Roll Detective,” an Elvis-inspired, chain smoking, bimbo loving private eye specializing in the music industry. One night, the aforementioned shock jock, Johnnie Crunch, (who also happens to be a childhood friend of Ford’s, natch), calls on Ford to locate his missing daughter. Driving away from this meeting (and thinking to himself in endless, unnecessary voice-over narration), Ford hears what sounds like a particularly violent radio broadcast from Crunch’s station. Busting into Crunch’s DJ booth, he find him strung up and in the process of being electrocuted. The next morning, Priscilla Presley shows up at Ford’s door and offers him $5000 to find the same girl as the dead Johnnie Crunch wanted found. Hmmm??? The easy part is finding the girl; whose name, ZuZu Petals, is classic and who probably has to be the dumbest, most innocently naive rock groupie ever to walk the planet! It’s her responses to things and general bubble headedness that give the film a lot of its giggly moments. More often than not, I was laughing at her, not Dice, which is a problem in a star vehicle when you laugh more at the supporting character than at the star! Anyway, once Ford locates ZuZu, he, with the help of his ridiculously sexy assistant, Jazz (Lauren Holly), must find out why Johnnie was killed and who wanted him dead. Throughout his investigation, he has to deal with the requisite by the books “other detective on the case,” Lt. Amos (Ed O’Neill), a former disco singer; a slimy record producer (Wayne Newton – very slimy, but I’m sure his hair gel didn’t help!); a crazy goon (Robert Englund – Freddy from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies); and assorted other weirdos.
I think Renny Harlin was a good choice to direct this piffle-piece of a cinematic pixie-stick. His slick, rock n roll visual style isn’t suitable to every movie, but suits this material well. His shots are fast and constantly moving, the edits are quick, and the whole thing looks like it could be re-cut into a three minute music video. Having grown up in the age of Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer movies (of which this is NOT one), I am a sucker for the highly stylized, rock music heavy, little substance movie. If nothing else, the picture is pleasant to look at. Plus the fact, this film is wall-to-wall hot chicks, complete with an insanely fantasized vision of a sorority house, with nubile coeds actually having pillow fights and doing aerobics on the balcony! Harlin stages this sequence with camera tilts, flashy colors, booty cams…the works, and choreographs the whole thing to the Billy Idol tune ‘Cradle of Love,’ which became a mainstream top ten hit. I mean, really??? You have to love the sheer spectacle of it all!
In his first leading man starring role, Dice actually isn’t so bad. I mean, the film ain’t “Lawrence of Arabia,” but he exhibits a breezy confidence that exudes a sort of screen presence. His humor is offensive, clearly misogynistic and sometimes downright mean, so that “screen presence” thing only goes so far, but, as I said before, the only reason you will be watching this movie is if you are already hip to Dice’s shtick. He seems to be having fun in the movie, which is good for any actor in a comedy – whether you like them or not. The rest of the cast seems to be having a good time too, well, except Priscilla Presley whose facial expressions, or lack thereof, indicate that the botox has paralyzed her entire face! The rest, however, are fun. Wayne Newton is interesting to watch as a total slimeball, Ed O’Neill (from “Married…With Children”) is amusing as he embarrasses himself singing and dancing to the worst disco song of all time, Gilbert Gottfried does his usual screeching, and Maddie Corman is quite funny as the dim-bulb, ZuZu, forever snapping her gum and acting as though her head is filled with helium.
I’ll say it again…if you don’t like Andrew Dice Clay, there is absolutely no reason for you to see this film because you’ll just upset yourself. But, for admirers of Dice and his politically way-incorrect jokes, there will be times when you laugh, though you’ll never bust a gut. But at least you can sit back and look at the pretty pictures!