“Jury Duty” Locations: North Division and Coeur d’Alene cinemas Credits: Directed by John Fortenberry and starring Pauly Shore, Tia Carrere, Shelley Winters and Abe Vigoda. Rating: PG-13 Running time: 88 minutes
Just hearing the name of Pauly Shore’s latest movie, “Jury Duty,” tells you all you need to know about the plot.
The “maverick juror” has long been a staple of feature films and, especially, TV dramas and sitcoms (who can forget Aunt Bee’s riveting stand for justice on an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show”?).
That said, there’s no reason to discuss the plot of “Jury Duty.” We know what it’s about. All that’s left is to hope that Shore can put his own unique spin on this classic entertainment staple, lacing in some hearty laughs and some heartfelt lessons about human nature along the way.
After all, we’re talking Pauly Shore here, the man who made his name by associating himself with a weasel and then moving on to hang 10 in the seemingly unstoppable wave of moron movies that has washed over Hollywood like a tsunami generated in Boston Harbor.
On the other hand, the argument could be made that criticizing a Pauly Shore movie is akin to the proverbial act of shooting fish in a barrel.
Well, what the heck. Where’s my .22?
“Jury Duty” is a mindless waste of film stock that has no business being released. The only real laugh in the film - when sportscaster Dick Vitale’s head explodes - is marred by sloppy special effects. In an age when Tom Hanks can shake hands with two dead presidents, these “Jury Duty” guys can’t even make a threesecond shot of a headless dummy look convincing.
Shore plays Tommy Collins (Tom Collins - get it?), an unemployed and unemployable paramecium living with his mother in a Kmart version of Pee-wee’s playhouse. Shelley Winters plays the mom, which tells you all you need to know about her career. Her reading is so wooden you could treat it for dry rot.
When mom runs off to Las Vegas to get married, Tommy decides to obey his summons to jury duty in the hopes that he’ll get to stay in a nice hotel.
As this muck runs its course, Tommy encounters, among other B-list actors, a judge played by Abe Vigoda, a juror played by Brian Doyle-Murray and another juror played by Tia Carrere (“Wayne’s World”), who might as well go ahead and get “I’m With Stupid” tattooed on her forehead.
Things must be pretty bad in the Vigoda household for the Barney Miller grad to accept a role that requires him to shout, “Penis! Penis! Penis!”
Director John Fortenberry displays no sense of comic timing and makes lazy, stupid decisions throughout this dreck. Tommy is assigned to a hotel room with his former high school principal, who listens to motivational tapes as he sleeps. At first, this offers some promise: Maybe Tommy will hear the tapes and become motivated! A motivated Pauly Shore! What a concept!
But that idea would have taken too much work. Instead, Tommy just goes on being Pauly (or vice versa, as if it really matters).
Outside the courthouse, a carnival atmosphere has arisen for the trial of the “Drive-Through Killer,” but there are empty seats in the courtroom. It’s this kind of inattention to detail that is so insulting. You can almost hear the filmmakers in the editing room: “It’s a movie about a stupid guy. Nobody’s gonna care if it makes sense or not. Just give ‘em some more shots of Pauly’s butt.”
Advice to Fortenberry: Take two “Caddyshack” tapes and report to film school in the morning.
This whole “stupid” thing has gotten way out of hand. When Hollywood went on its dead-teenagers rampage in the early ‘80s, at least the filmmakers could look to a good movie - “Halloween” - as their primary inspiration.
But the only one of these recent idiot vehicles that has come close to being inspired was “Wayne’s World” and, dude, that’s pretty light fare to base a genre on.
Of course, none of this ranting and raving matters, because “Jury Duty” will make plenty of money. You can bet on that.
But it makes you wonder just how bad these movies are going to have to get before people wise up and stay away in big enough droves to stop this nonsense.
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