Chris Farley had his last leading role here, in a feature released five months after his death. A great epitaph it is not, but it does showcase him in the kind of role he was obviously born to play. Bartholomew Hunt is a rowdy tracker hired by effete adventurer Leslie Edwards (Matthew Perry) in 1804 America. Edwards hopes to make a name for himself beating Lewis & Clark to the Pacific Ocean. Hunt & Edwards set out for the coast, in the company of various other kooks and half-wits. They must deal with Indian tribes, a bear, an eagle protecting its nest, and an arrogant Conquistador named Hidalgo (Kevin Dunn).
Both Farley and Perry are well-cast in what amounts to a fairly enjoyable comedy. Like a lot of comedies, it has its share of gags that work and those that don't. One might consider this an off-day for veteran writer / performer / director Christopher Guest, who'd started his string of "mockumentaries" with "Waiting for Guffman" the previous year. But it's all put across by an enthusiastic bunch of actors, with supporting players like Dunn, a hilarious Eugene Levy as a French "language expert" named Fontenot, Hamilton Camp, and Patrick Cranshaw tending to steal the show. A tantalizing Lisa Barbuscia is the love interest for Perry, playing Fontenots' Indian wife. Bokeem Woodbine, as Edwards' slave, is unfortunately under-utilized.
Various familiar faces - Don Lake, Lewis Arquette, Christian Clemenson, and Brent Hinkley - turn up, and Guests' longtime colleague Harry Shearer does the opening narration. Michael McKean is credited as "project consultant".
A decent attempt at creating the period, lovely photography, and use of various wilderness locales all help in making this pleasant enough to watch, if also rather easy to forget. At the least, it may make a viewer interested enough to read up on Lewis & Clark, as it pokes fun at details of their own historic journey.
Six out of 10.
I name this here fork "Pittsburgh Nellie". (IMDB: 7)
On: 5/13/2020 12:00:00 AM By: Hey_Sweden