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Rob Pritts
Chris Kattan, Vinessa Shaw, Peter Falk, Peter Berg
David Garrett, Jason Ward

Who is Corky Romano?
Box Office:
Budget $11 million.
Opening weekend $9.023 million on 2062 screens.
Domestic gross $23.978 million.
Rated PG-13 for drug and sex-related humor, and for language.

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English, Spanish, French

Runtime: 86 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 5/14/2002

• “All Access” Featurette
• Two Extended Scenes
• Sneak Peek


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Corky Romano (2001)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson

And the modern-day Saturday Night Live curse continues! I believe the last era of the show to produce an actual movie star came from the program’s early Nineties incarnation. That period produced Adam Sandler, easily the biggest success from the last decade of the 20th century.

Unfortunately for them, no more recent SNL performers have made it big on movie screens. God knows they’ve tried. After the success of 1992’s Wayne’s World, a parade of films that featured characters from the show hit cinemas, and virtually none of them did anything at the box office.

Chris Kattan had his go at this form of transference with 1998’s A Night at the Roxbury. Like its siblings, it tanked, but Kattan has tried to branch out with other roles. In his latest, he gets the lead as Corky Romano, a character with no connection to SNL.

However, the results were the same. Corky bombed at box offices, and for good reason: it stinks. The movie tries desperately to amuse and entertain, but it all feels like so much wasted energy.

At the start of the film, we meet the Romano crime family. There’s Pops (Peter Falk) and his sons Peter (Chris Penn) and Paulie (Peter Berg) as well as family friend Leo Corrigan (Fred Ward). As we quickly learn, the latter acts as a stoolie for the FBI, which has placed the Romanos under intense scrutiny.

After an indictment comes down, Pops suffers a heart attack and the gang needs to find a way to deal with the evidence the FBI has against them. They round up the least likely suspect: estranged son Corky (Kattan), a bubbly veterinary assistant who has nothing to do with his family’s criminal ways. He agrees to pretend to be an FBI agent so he can infiltrate their headquarters and lift the documents against Pops.

From there we get a comedy of errors. Perky Corky fumbles and futzes his way through the task as he gets to know his fellow agents. There’s boss Howard Shuster (Richard Roundtree), no-nonsense agent Brick Davis (Matthew Glave), and sexy, underused Kate Russo (Vinessa Shaw). Gradually Corky’s accidental success wins over all of them except Davis, who becomes more and more annoyed with the obvious incompetence of his cohort, despite Corky’s unwavering ability to end up on top.

Essentially two subplots occur along with the one related to the impending trial of the Romanos. A serial killer stalks the area, and Shuster uses Corky to work on the case. In addition, Corky and Kate develop an improbable romance.

Of course, most of Corky Romano seems improbable, but many such movies have succeeded in the past. This one doesn’t, for one primary reason: it’s not funny. The movie’s most amusing bits comes with Corky’s introduction: he cruises about town in a top-down convertible as he croons along with a-ha’s 1985 hit “Take On Me”. It’s not particularly clever, but for once, Kattan’s manic liveliness makes it work.

Despite that one decent moment, Kattan usually works against the film. He stutters and flails his way through the movie with more energy than a pack of Cub Scouts high on Pixie Stix, and he gets darned annoying after about, oh, three minutes of screen time. Perhaps Kattan understood the inherent weakness of the material and figured he could bludgeon the audience into acceptance.

Indeed, the script and the set-ups do seem quite bad. Corky Romano is the sort of film that thinks it’s hilarious to offer one closeted gay Romano brother and another who’s illiterate. (Corky’s not the gay one, though he seems like the most likely party.) This is the kind of film that thinks it’s hilarious to show Kattan as he gets electric shocks via conductors attached to his nipples. This is the kind of film that thinks it’s hilarious to name a veterinary clinic “Poodles and Pussies”.

If any of those concepts appeals to you, by all means check out Corky Romano - you’ll likely get a kick out of it. As for me, I struggled to make the flick’s brief running time. It piles one unconnected gag upon another, each equally as lame. Romano seems so braindead that I wonder if the filmmakers even intentionally provided some of the movie’s marginally clever bits. For example, Agent Russo looks and acts a lot like actress dsajl circa flicks like In the Line of Fire, but it remains possible - if unlikely - this occurred accidentally. Corky Romano is fairly painlessly bad - it didn’t make me want to smash my TV - but it seems bad nonetheless.

The DVD Grades: Picture C+ / Audio B- / Bonus D+

Corky Romano appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Buena Vista usually provides solid transfers; for example, High Heels and Low Lifes offered the strongest non-animated picture I’ve seen in some time. Surprisingly, Corky looked somewhat weak, as it seemed strangely problematic for such a recent flick.

Many of the problems stemmed from that videophile villain, edge enhancement. Corky suffered from some of the strongest EE I’ve witnessed in a while. The problem plagued a lot of the film and resulted in noticeable haloes around many characters and objects. In addition, I saw occasional examples of shimmering jagged edges. Somewhat surprisingly, the image remained reasonably crisp and distinct despite the edge enhancement. In my experience, EE often causes shots - especially wide ones - to lose detail and appear softer than they should. That didn’t occur here, as the movie displayed fairly good sharpness most of the time. The picture looked a little dull on occasion, but not to the degree I expected given the fairly heave edge enhancement.

Print flaws seemed less problematic, but they still appeared more prevalent than I think they should for a brand-new flick. Light grain popped up at times, and I also saw occasional examples of grit and small marks. In addition, I felt the image betrayed a strangely “digital” look; it didn’t offer the natural and film-like appearance I expected.

Colors generally seemed good, though they could be somewhat heavy and hard at times. The latter factor connected with the digital appearance, as the hues took on a somewhat unnatural and artificial presentation. Nonetheless, they normally looked reasonably decent. Black levels seemed fine, and shadow detail also came across as appropriately dense and thick. In the end, the problems I saw during Corky Romano never rendered it unwatchable, but they made the image a disappointment nonetheless.

The film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack didn’t seem much more impressive than the picture, but that was mostly because if suffered from Comedy Movie Syndrome. Flicks from that genre often provide lackluster audio, and Corky fit within that model. The emphasis usually remained heavily on the forward spectrum. In that realm, I heard good stereo presence for music, but effects rarely elevated beyond general ambience. The surrounds contributed the same kind of vague atmosphere, though they did come to life decently during a couple of moderate action scenes late in the flick; the manifestation of gunfire and explosions added a little verve. Nonetheless, the mix usually stayed pretty quiet.

Audio quality also showed a fairly tepid nature, mostly because it lacked much punch. Overall, the track seemed clear and accurate, though. Dialogue appeared natural and distinct, with no problems related to intelligibility or edginess. Music was reasonably crisp and detailed, though the score and songs sounded somewhat flat at times. Similar concerns affected the effects. While they kicked into action with some good bass on a couple of occasions, the mix generally appeared somewhat lackluster. The audio of Corky Romano didn’t cause any real problems, but it didn’t add anything to the film.

The DVD of Corky Romano presents only a smattering of supplements. First we find All Access, a 12-minute and 15-second featurette. I expected a fluffy promotional piece, but instead it consists totally of behind the scenes material. We watch one segment as they shoot it and then watch the dailies and the final cut. It’s nothing revelatory, but it offers an interesting look at the creation of the scene.

Next we get two Extended Scenes. “Corky Visits the Skinheads” lasts 133 seconds, while “The Sparring Gym” goes for 158 seconds. Both simply pad the existing material to a minor degree and don’t seem terribly fascinating.

When you start the DVD, you’ll encounter the trailer for another box office flop, 2001’s Bubble Boy. This clip also appears in the DVD’s Sneak Peeks domain, where it sadly resides alone. Buena Vista usually pack their DVDs with ads, so it seems odd that only this lone wolf shows up here. It seems even stranger that the disc omits a trailer for Corky itself.

Not that I can say I missed that clip, for the less time I had to spend with this DVD, the better. Corky Romano offered an annoying hyperactive and witless “comedy” that inspired almost no amusement or interest, at least not from me. The DVD provided watchable but surprisingly flawed picture quality along with adequate sound and a minor roster of extras. Overall, Corky Romano was a weak movie and a bland DVD.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.2142 Stars Number of Votes: 14
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