Reviewed by GREG KING

Director: Rob Pritts

Stars: Chris Kattan, Peter Falk, Chris Penn, Peter Berg, Matthew Glave, Fred Ward, Richard Roundtree.

Sort of like a cross between The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, The Sopranos and Analyze This, Corky Romano is a deliberately silly, low brow Mob comedy that has its moments.

Chris Kattan (from Saturday Night Live, etc) is a comic who has a very physical style rather like the old time silent film comedians. For me he was the best thing about the disappointing Monkeybone, in which he had a small role as a dead athlete brought back to life whose horribly contorted body lumbered around spewing organs at will. But given his first starring role he proves that a little bit of Kattan can go a long way, but his unique brand of humour and his grating personality can also become a bit irritating.

Kattan plays the titular character, an effeminate vet who is reluctantly brought back into the fold of his Mafia family when they need his help. The FBI is hell bent on prosecuting family head Pops Romano (Peter Falk) for murder, based on sworn testimony from an unidentified informant. As every member of the family is well known to the FBI, the Romanos turn in desperation to the sensitive Corky, the black sheep of the family, who has been exiled for a long time because he doesn’t fit the mould. His dysfunctional brothers (Chris Penn and Peter Berg) and family lawyer (Fred Ward) persuade Corky to go undercover with the FBI, locate the incriminating evidence and destroy it. With the help of a hacker, they create a fantastic resume for Corky, who becomes known as agent Pissant (and the deliberate mispronunciation of his name becomes a running joke throughout the film).

Corky’s incompetence however ensures that he blunders his way through the assignment. But along the way he also accidentally becomes something of a superstar within the FBI, much to the disgust of stuffy agent Brick Davis (Matthew Glave). The subplot involving a serial killer known as the “Night Vulture” adds little and, indeed, the killer’s identity should become obvious to nearly everybody well before the denouement itself.

Written by newcomers David Garrett and Jason Ward, and directed at a reasonably fast pace by debut director Rob Pritts, Corky Romano features plenty of fart jokes, homophobic humour, sight gags, and smutty low brow humour aimed at the lowest common denominator. But there are also some moments that work well and provide plenty of laughs.

The performances are a mixed bag, with both Penn and Berg seemingly uncomfortable with their roles, and veterans like Richard Roundtree (the original Shaft) wasted in an undemanding role. But veteran Falk brings a touch of dignity and class to the material with his role as the ailing mob boss. If it wasn’t for the energetic presence of Kattan though, Corky Romano could have been a big mess!



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