Screwed
**.5 BM
Starring: Norm McDonald, Women Be Shoppin', Danny DeVito, Elaine Stritch

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I think Norm MacDonald is secretly a genius. You won't be able to discern that from this film, but I love his delivery and his entire style, and the fact that he's not afraid to be a total asshole - his Conan O'Brien appearance when he mercilessly mocked Courtney Thorne-Smith (otherwise known as the 'surfer' chick from "Summer School") and her pathetic Carrot Top movie to her face is one example. "Dirty Work" wasn't a great movie, but Norm made it worth seeing (at the dollar theater). I think there are some really good things ahead of him... unless he gets too far into that gambling drunk scene and craps out early.

The long-awaited and much-ballyhooed team-up of Norm and Women Be Shoppin' (Dave Chappelle) should have been one of the funniest things ever. There are character names of Willard Fillmore, Rusty P. Hayes and Grover Cleaver. Willard (Norm) is a lifelong house servant of Miss Crock (Elaine Stritch) and constantly abused for no gain of his own, so he hatches a plot with Rusty (Women Be Shoppin') to kidnap her little dog... and wacky misadventures ensue. Grover (Danny DeVito) is a creepy mortician they hire to bail them out of a jam. More hijinks.

I hear tell that this film was finished two years ago... and it seems to have gone through about fifty re-edits, because there are sloppy cuts, weird little pauses, a completely inexplicable and barely relevant love interest and some really generic dialog that makes one believe some punchlines were edited out for some reason. Not that the script could have been much better than what shows up on the screen, anyway. The fact that the commercials I'd seen for the film showed nothing but a few slapstick moments and no inkling of plot made me pretty sure about what I was going to get... but I went anyway, because I like Norm and Women Be Shoppin'.

Despite all of this, there WAS some pretty funny stuff in the film - and it was generally because of these two guys. Although having Sherman Hemsley as a villain doesn't hurt, either. I just don't think screwball slap-happy comedies like this are what Norm MacDonald can be best utilized in. His dumb guy comedy is actually more intelligent than it seems. Women Be Shoppin' is the same way. But then again, Norm has such a disdain for actual acting, it seems, that any movie he's in almost HAS to seem very quickly slapped together... but it should be funnier than "Screwed."

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