Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 4, 2020)
If you ever watch a “Where Are They Now?” program that deals with the 1990s, it seems inevitable that comedian Pauly Shore will become part of the discussion. Actually, Shore first gained national notoriety in 1989 when he started as a VJ on MTV, but it remains fair to view him as a 1990s phenomenon.
That seems especially true because Shore’s popularity peaked in that period, and by the time Bill Clinton left office in 2000, Shore’s star had already faded. Essentially a one-trick pony, Shore couldn’t adapt beyond his “Weasel” persona.
Though he faded from the spotlight, Shore continued to work over the decades. 2020 finds him as the star of an “R”-rated comedy called Guest House.
Young couple Sarah Masters (Aimee Teegarden) and Blake Renner (Mike Castle) intend to marry. As part of their plans, they purchase a home that they adore.
However, Sarah and Blake encounter a snarl, as hard-partying man-child Randy Cockfield (Shore) lives in the guest house and he won’t leave. This leads to confrontations and wild shenanigans.
Prediction I write before I actually watch House: the film will include at least eight jokes related to Randy’s last name.
Summary after I viewed the movie: eight name gags. Score one for predictability, I guess.
Look, I get that no one anticipates high-brow entertainment from a film that stars Pauly Shore, though circa 2020, I don’t know what audience the producers expect to find. 40-somethings with 1990s nostalgia for the Weasel?
No offense to Shore, as I think he possesses talent, even if I always hated that “Weasel” persona. I saw him on talk shows a few times when he behaved “out of character”, and he demonstrated actual wit and intelligence.
At no point during House do we get even the slightest hint of wit and/or intelligence. Little more than a collection of cheap raunchy gags, it turns into a tired, sub-moronic mess.
Basically a lazy rip-off of many other hard-“R” comedies we’ve gotten over the last few decades, House finds nothing creative or original to slap onto the screen. Actually, I could live without the “original” if the film mustered the slightest hint of cleverness.
Unfortunately, House just careens from one idiotic stab at comedy to another, without any sense of logic or coherence. Sure, we get the theme of how Randy’s presence stresses the Blake and Sarah relationship, but all these elements seem utterly contrived.
No, House wouldn’t be the first movie to sacrifice a competent narrative in the hunt for laughs. Heck. 1980’s classic Caddyshack barely attempts a real story, and it packs tons of laughs.
Caddyshack also enjoys a massively talented cast and crew, with Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Harold Ramis, Ted Knight and others involved. Pauly Shore and Billy Zane don’t act as good substitutes.
Nothing here makes sense, and the characters fail to become even vaguely interesting. Blake behaves in a variety of perplexing ways, and Randy offers a movie concoction who exists solely to act as a goofy fly in various ointments.
Even with a well-worn character path, Guest House could’ve offered some laughs if it exerted an effort. Unfortunately, the movie opts for the lowest common denominator and never finds a single chuckle.