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Review: 'Gone Fishin' is a reel disaster

Pesci and Glover

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.

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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.

Pesci and Glover

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 slipping away.

Pesci and Glover

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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