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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector

I was shocked, shocked I tell you, when two weeks ago Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector opened across the country and Larry himself seemed to be everywhere on tv plugging his first staring role (from chatting with the ladies of “The View” to exchanging political barbs with Sean Hannity on his Fox News Network program for goodness sake) and yet the Champlain Valley was a Larry-free zone. I promptly cornered Dale Chapman, manager of the Essex Cinemas, to get the scoop. After all, Larry played the Champlain Valley Fair in Essex Junction last summer and packed in over 20,000 devoted fans, eager to hear the blue collar comic utter his famous catch-phrase “Git-r-Done.” Dale agreed that it was a tragedy as he was also a fan of Larry’s, and somehow through the magic of movie-booking Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector appeared this past Friday to the joy of Larryheads everywhere.

Now if you are expecting high-brow satire and Oscar Wilde type wit when settling into your seat at the Essex Cinemas to see Larry the Cable Guy:
Health Inspector you have either most likely never heard of Larry or you have recently suffered a severe head injury and should seek medical assistance immediately. Either way, you might want to take a tranquilizer because this is definitely going to be a shock to the system. For fans of Larry, however, this is going to be like an all-you-can-eat-buffet of fart jokes and butt crack close-ups to keep you snorting Diet Pepsi up your nose and choking on your popcorn for a full two hours.

Speaking of butt cracks, our movie opens with a spectacular close-up view of
the Cable Guy’s very own, followed by a shot of his foot stepping into cold pizza on the floor as he makes his way from the bed to his shower. From there we watch as he dances around a stream of his own urine while he washes up for his workday, all this before the opening credits. Talk about gittin’-r-done. If there was a single person in the audience who didn’t know what they were in for before they did now, just as the story begins, and believe it or not, there is a story to Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector.

Larry (who actually has a real name ~ Daniel Lawrence Whitney) is a restaurant inspector for the local Health Department, and it is his
job to go from place to place looking for rat droppings and roaches. Much to his chagrin, his boss is assigning him a partner, Amy Butlin (Iris Bahr, from tv’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”), an androgynous looking, suit-wearing younger associate who does everything by the book and who appears to have last smiled around 1999. She is astounded by Larry’s lackadaisical ways of doing his job, especially considering his personal slovenliness.

First up for Larry and Amy (who Larry keeps calling “son” or “sir”) is an investigation of a series of high class restaurant poisonings around the city. It seems that the All City Top Chef Contest coming up shortly is being sabotaged as restaurants are forced to withdraw in shame after their
customers are struck with horrible cases of uncontrollable diarrhea. Hey, it’s Larry the Cable Guy. You knew diarrhea had to play a part in here somewhere.

The mystery of the poisonings is really just a slim plotline that allows Larry an opportunity to air much of his stand-up act in a new form. He gets to make lots of flatulence jokes, ridicule his handicapped co-worker (Tony Hale from tv’s “Arrested Development”), poke fun at his boss and his partner for being gay, make ugly jibes at some of the
restaurant owners (one in particular, played with relish and a grizzly unibrow by Brooke Dillman), and talk endlessly about “boobs” thanks to his chance meeting with Jane Whitley (Megyn Price of tv’s "Grounded for Life") at a lingerie store.

Love blooms between Jane and Larry, but this is not a romance, so don’t expect hearts and flowers. It is a romance based more in an ability of both to tolerate her gross, trash-talkin’ mama, played under a lot of foam make-up by comedienne Lisa Lampanelli. Thrown in the picture too is an appearance by Joe Pantalioni ("The Sopranos" Ralph Cifaretto) as the town’s oily mayor, who has even Larry Hagman beat in the out-of-control eyebrows look in this role. His closeness to Jane is misinterpreted (of course) by Larry, so the inevitable misunderstanding will occur before they are reunited amid a flurry of flatulence by the time Larry and Butlin crack the case and he finally also realizes that Butlin is a she instead of a he. As Larry would say, “Good Lord, John Wayne, and the shepherds! I apologize!”

Unfortunately, there is nary a line of humorous dialogue from this film that one can repeat in a family-friendly publication, but if you can live with that,
and are still ready to experience the Health Inspector experience then you can’t say you don’t know what you are getting yourself into. Some may call it a “guilty pleasure” or just plain old “bad taste” but I thought it was fun.

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