First, he gave us the interesting but incoherent Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector. It was a film so completely devoid of intelligence that the screenplay consistently threatened to choke on its own drool. Not to be outdone, the Blue Collar Tour vet then went military with the mindless Delta Farce. There, he at least had Bill Engvall and D.J. Qualls to share the blame with. Now comes Daniel Lawrence Whitney's latest celebration of skidmarks, atomic flatulence, personal filth, and animal husbandry. And as Witless Protection proves, the timer on this comic's 15 minutes of funnyman fame has hit an hour and a half.
Poor dumb backwoods deputy Larry Stalder (Mr. Cable Guy
). He longs to be an FBI agent, much to the chagrin of his country-fried friends and Daisy Mae wannabe gal pal Connie's (Jenny McCarthy
). While spending a quiet morning at the local coffee house chewing the fat, he sees a big city vixen (Ivana Milicevic
) surrounded by several men in black. Mistakenly believing she's the victim of a kidnapping, Larry springs into action. He hijacks the lady, avoids the mystery men, and believes he has saved the day. Article continues below
Unfortunately, what he doesn't know is that his hostage, an ex-number cruncher named Madeleine, is a witness against a money skimming corporate crook named Grimsley (Peter Stormare
) and the government is doing everything it can to protect her. But Larry is suspicious of head Fed Alonzo Mosley (Yaphet Kotto
) and when a private security guard (Eric Roberts
) shows up with his own agenda, it will take all of our hero's redneck rube resolve to crack the case and bring the bad guys to justice.
With a built-in critique in its title and a lame excuse for a comic in the lead, Witless Protection should once and for all spell the end of Larry the Cable Guy's horrendous run of Hollywood hokum. Clearly the worst of the three films in his offensive oeuvre, this clueless collection of slobbering gags is a series of unfunny one-liners looking for a premise to perch on and die. While he doesn't sway significantly from the persona that won him a NASCAR nation of fans, the sleeveless stumblebum routine no longer holds the same novelty for our star. This leaves the mindless script by director Charles Robert Carner
to provide most of the hilarity. The best it can do is offer a cameo by Joe Mantegna as a prissy relative with the most flamboyant swish shtick this side of Savannah.
Carner's turn behind the lens is equally weak. This is a filmmaker who still believes that sped-up foot chase footage ala Benny Hill is the height of satire, or that the sight of our lead dressed in nothing but a well-placed ball cap will be outrageous, not nauseating. Actors like Stormare are forced to use ridiculous and tiresome accents that grow more and more annoying as the plot points fall into place, and the editing is obtrusive and awkward. There is a Family Guy feel to the dialogue, with Larry constantly using any discussion to make his pointless comparative quips ("My hand hasn't been this sore since the first episode of Baywatch."). In fact, there are moments when these offhand comments actually bring the entire film to a grinding halt.
With Roberts and Kotto looking uncomfortable, Milicevic barely likable, McCarthy channeling another movie all together, and an ending that straddles cliché and contrivance, Witless Protection is quite possibly the worst film of 2008 -- and when you consider we've already seen In The Name of the King, Meet the Spartans, and Fool's Gold, that's saying a lot. On stage, reduced to a homunculus hillbilly stereotype, Larry the Cable Guy is barely tolerable. For the crimes he commits against cinema in this movie, he shouldn't get slammed. He should get life.