Review: 'Gone Fishin' is a reel disaster
June 5, 1997
Web posted at: 6:55 p.m. EDT (2255 GMT)
From Reviewer Paul Tatara
(CNN) -- Be honest, now. Would you star in back-to-back
movies called "Eight Heads in a Duffel Bag" and "Gone
Fishin?'" Is this something a sane person would do? Well, I
can't vouch for his sanity, but I can verify that that's
exactly what Joe Pesci has done. Just in case you don't
remember, this person won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for
his fiery work in "GoodFellas" and was also nominated for a
great, highly focused performance in "Raging Bull,"
considered by many critics to be the best film of the 1980s.
It's too bad then that Pesci (for whatever mystifying
reasons) has decided that the proper move at this point in
his career is to take center stage in movies that your "slow"
cousin can enjoy.
Not that I could fathom a breathing cousin slow enough to
actually appreciate "Gone Fishin'." Yet another in the long
line of Two Stupid Guys Breaking Stuff movies, "Gone Fishin'"
also stars Danny Glover, who hasn't won an Oscar, but is
usually a good actor and ought to know better. He and Pesci
play Gus and Joe, two morons (morons are funny) who decide to
take a holiday from their families and go fishing in the
Florida Everglades. The supposed joke of the movie is that
Gus and Joe are walking disaster areas; everything they touch
either careens out of control, crashes, falls over, or bursts
into flames. None of it is funny. None of it is even
faintly amusing. None of it is how much you should watch.
I don't even know where to start. After about 15 minutes of
this thing I thought my foot was asleep, then I realized it
was my entire body! My head just swiveled there, helpless,
trying desperately to maintain interest in what was taking
place on screen. Even my head eventually succumbed, but not
before I got to see Glover drop a load of cargo from a crane
and crush a small building, followed by Pesci blowing up a
gas station with a tossed cigar, followed by their boat
crashing through a diner (don't ask), followed by their boat
getting dragged behind a train, followed by my will to live
Glover whispers all of his dialogue, which hopefully means
that he's properly embarrassed. Pesci, on the other hand,
fits his character with an up-turned bill on his baseball cap
and a cigar clamped between his teeth. This is the sum total
of his performance. Quite literally, since every other scene
contains an obvious stunt man who gets to do the easy stuff
like hanging off of a speeding, highly unstable fishing boat
that's heading straight for the shore. I'm telling you,
outside of the costume, this guy looks absolutely nothing
like Joe Pesci. It wouldn't look any more ridiculous if
Julius Erving did the stunts.
The movie isn't even bad in a bouncy, silly way. It's bad
like unrefrigerated meat. Nothing works. A scene with a
fast-talking boat salesman who sizes our boys up as cretins
takes so long to finish, it seems like it's playing
underwater instead of next to it. The pacing in every scene
is atrocious. This is supposed to be (I'm just guessing
here) a cartoon, and the reason cartoons are funny is because
the mayhem occurs so quickly. The Coyote falls off a cliff,
you see the little poof of dust when he hits bottom, then
we're off chasing the Roadrunner again. Not here. If
director Christopher Cain were shooting a knock-knock joke,
the person telling it would have to knock 40 times while his
victim gets out of the shower, dries his hair, then shouts
"Who is it?" Then a building would fall over.
Patricia Arquette is also in the movie, for some reason. Her
character appears and suddenly disappears so many times it's
like a repetitive magic trick. She and her friend are in hot
pursuit of a con man who ripped off her family. Later on,
the con man steals Pesci's car. Later still, he tries to
kill Pesci and Glover, and he had my wholehearted support.
Then Pesci kicks an alligator.
A dead giveaway that these filmmakers are desperate is the
poster for "Gone Fishin'," which contains "hilarious" phony
blurbs about the film, like, "Holy mackerel -- you'll laugh
your bass off!" I want to get in on this lucrative sideline,
so I've come up with some more suggestions: "Considering
their work, I hope Pesci and Glover were paid scale!" "You
can tuna TV to a different station, but you can't tuna a
movie, so you're stuck watching "Gone Fishin'!" "All in all,
I'd say 'Gone Fishin'' is extremely crappie!"
"Gone Fishin'" is suitable for anyone who can stand it. No
nudity. No bad language. May cause drowsiness. Do not
operate heavy machinery after watching "Gone Fishin'." Rated
PG. 94 minutes.
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