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Beverly Hills Ninja
1997 - PG-13 - 88 Mins.
Director: Dennis Dugan
Producer: Brad Krevoy, Steven Stabler, Bradley Thomas
Written By: Mark Feldberg, Mitchell Klebanoff
Starring: Chris Farley, Chris Rock, Robin Shou, Nathaniel Parker, Soon-Tek Oh
Review by: John Ulmer
   
"Beverly Hills Ninja" could have had good potential. It could have been "Crocodile Dundee" with a ninja. Unfortunately, thanks to the casting of Chris Farley, an awful script, and an untalented director, this film wallows in the laugh-free zone.

Farley plays a ninja from Japan who comes to Beverly Hills looking for a woman named Sally Jones, who has requested help from The Fat One. But unfortunately for Farley, tracking down a blonde-haired woman in Beverly Hills is going to be harder than he ever imagined. After he (finally) tracks her down with the help of Joey (equally unfunny comedian Chris Rock), he is led into a plot that seems put together by five-year-olds. The film obviously had no thought put into it at all.

Chris Farley, Mr. Over the Top, is as unfunny as ever. Unlike John Candy - who he has been compared to - Farley is simply not funny. Candy used subtle comedy. Let's compare the two...

For example, in "Beverly Hills Ninja," Chris Farley goes through a security device at an airport. It beeps, and he instantly flails his arms about, screaming and yelling, punching the device. He them calms down realizing it is a machine. Before going through the device, we can see Farley waiting for his cue to slap the thing. You can see it in his eyes. He's just waiting to go out of control, screaming. And when he does so, it isn't funny.

John Candy, on the other hand, is much funnier going through a security device. In "Who's Harry Crumb?" - a bad comedy, but nevertheless one to compare to - Candy goes through a scanner and it beeps. He looks around innocently, and does the same thing Farley does without punching and screaming wildly at the device.

There's something about the energy that Farley releases that makes me sick. It's worse than watching Jim Carrey and Robin Williams combined. He will suddenly go crazy, slapping and punching and running around. Then, the next moment, he's calm. And we can just see all the energy inside him - and it can't wait to release itself again. It's more obnoxious than anything.

The script is pitifully unfunny. I didn't laugh a single time at any of the gags. It's a cheap excuse for getting Chris Farley to display his unwanted energy.

Perhaps "Beverly Hills Ninja" seemed like a good idea before they filmed it, but it doesn't look so great on the celluloid, that's for sure.
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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