Witless Protection

Witless Protection (2008)
Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Cast: Larry the Cable Guy, Jenny McCarthy, Ivana Milicevic, Eric Roberts
Extras: Featurettes
Rating:

Seems like not long ago the mysterious voice crackling like beer and hominy grits yakked into a moonshine swill, belonging to one Larry the Cable Guy, scoured FM radio stations with his politically inconclusive "commentaries" that always ended with a perverted cackle and signature signoff "Git 'r Done!" Didn't we all believe, before Larry the Cable Guy came out in public, that it was some old geezer with a scruffy bird's nest on his chin pulling on a NASCAR can holder (bearing the old number 90 and Helig Meyers sponsorship logo of Larry's racing hero Dick Trickle) with an Old Milwaukee wedged in as firmly as his assumedly dirty skivvies up the crack of his wrinkled ass?

The laugh was on most of us when Larry the Cable Guy showed up much younger than expected, albeit every bit the redneck we purported him to be. The trick, however, is that Larry the Cable Guy may have the southern good 'ol boy itch to his visibility, but by now, with stand-up comedy tours, starring roles in movies and an endorsement from Bass Pro Shops that's probably bigger than even Bill Dance's, one has to presume there's as much caricature to Larry the Cable Guy as there is a hangdog rebel drawl to the dude. For the record, Larry was born in Nebraska as Daniel Lawrence Whitney, so do take that into consideration.

At this point, Larry the Cable Guy might be considered the Pauly Shore of this generation in terms of wackadoodle comedy flicks rushed out into the market while there is a market to sustain Larry's everyman knucklehead persona. Consider Larry's previous films "Delta Farce," "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector" and his voiceover work in "Cars," and one can already see Larry's fate as inevitably parallel to Pauly's and not just because the two both have military comedies scribbled on their resumes. Before Larry's relevance in a still-decidedly Republican America drifts into the backwoods of his conception, The Cable Guy peeps up for a mostly harmless trashcan comedy, "Witless Protection".

Of course, harmlessness doesn't equate into greatness, as if we're to expect "Witless Protection" to be ranked alongside "A Fish Called Wanda" or at least "Blazing Saddles" (which Larry was born too late to get an obvious bit part in). "Witless Protection" is every bit the idiot savantism as the title implies, which means you're going to be taking this raunchy vehicle in a light manner, probably with a cold one within grasp or least a bag of cheese crackers.

Playing the ultimate "cracker" to the hilt in "Witless Protection," Larry the Cable Guy combines slapstick with his famed shanty colloquialisms (i.e. "I'm madder than a…") and while there seems to be more than a bit of forced entry (particularly suspension of disbelief that the curvaceous Jenny McCarthy yields a steamy attraction to Larry's oafishness) to this thing, if you're a fan of the guy, you're simply going to be right at home. "Simply" is the word.

As deputy in a hayseed town (where all of the guys are hosses except for the elderly sheriff and a huckleberry farmer in the opening sequence whom Larry stops from shooting his horse), consider Larry (also his character name in the film) a redneck George Bailey in the fact he has dreams of leaving town and joining the FBI. When a beautiful stranger (Ivana Milicevic) happens into the restaurant McCarthy waits tables at (most especially upon her milkshake-loving man), Larry miscalculates the appearance of black-suited men accompanying her as drug dealers who have kidnapped her. Bumbling to her rescue under such pretenses, what is revealed is that Milicevic is a key witness under the protection of the fibbies. As Larry holds her in captivity under the belief the FBI agents are imposters, he and Milicevic crack insults and flatulence at one another throughout Witless Protection. Of course, after a half hour of the way, one should rightly infer that those men in black are indeed imposters and that there's more to Larry the Cable Guy than jibes at everything from albinos in a snowstorm to pimples on his ass reminding him of past flames.

The chase is on, and "Witless Protection" shambles along as Larry safely escorts Milicevic to Chicago for her court appearance, but along the way we get a funny cameo from Joe Mantegna playing not a Mafioso for a change, but an underground Botox surgeon who assists in Larry and Milicevic's escape from her pursuers.

Appealing to knuckle-scraping denominators with exaggerated chauvinism and working class versus the bourgeoisie elements, "Witless Protection" is a silly romp that is at least filmed crisply, if not serving as excuse for Larry to deliver his one-liner analogies ("My hand hasn't hurt this much since the first episode of Baywatch" admittedly being a genuine gut-buster) along with a heavy dose of physical humor. Let's not forget to titillate Larry's devout audience with both Jenny McCarthy and Ivana Milicevic along the way.

The DVD features a behind-the-scenes featurette in which the actors comment upon one another (with Yaphet Kotto as the lead "agent" making note about Larry's runaway popularity on and off the set), an examination of Larry the Cable Guy's methodology to his "analogies" and a look at Peter Stormare who not only plays the rich boy villain in "Witless Protection," but also recorded music for the film including a cover of Billy Ray Cyrus' painful "Achy Breaky Heart," dished up in the film as an appropriate butt-end joke. In the end, you know who you are if "Witless Protection" is your soup du jour (pronounced "dujer" like Ralph Farley believes, of course). Someone


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