Almost Heroes (1998)
Critic Consensus: A sorry swan song for the talented Chris Farley, Almost Heroes is a directionless comedy that doesn't even come close to triumph.
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as Bartholomew Hunt
as Leslie Edwards
as Father Girard
as Old Indian
as Nicholas Burr
as Best Twig
as Chief Two Roads
as Iowa Indian
as New Bartender
as Merriweather Lewis
as William Clark
as Strong Like Mountain
as Running Puma
as Salmon Brave
as Conquistador No. 2
Critic Reviews for Almost Heroes
Unfortunately, Farley's unintended farewell is hardly memorable.
All of the guys on the expedition are dumb, and they say and do dumb things in dumb ways, dumbly.
This 1998 comedy set in the early American west isn't unwatchable, just bad.
All we're left with is a lame script and dithering direction, a lethal combination.
Those hallmark Farley situations, when he bursts into apoplexy over some challenge or outrage, seem unconvincing here. As for Perry, he doesn't show nearly enough charm or ego to be of interest.
Audience Reviews for Almost Heroes
A giant misstep on the part of director Christopher Guest, this film tries to make a fast buck off of spoofs of the eighteenth century and expeditions to the new world. Frontiersmen life is easily mined for some gratuitous laughs, but everything about this film feels rushed and unnecessary. Even with some of the same cast Guest has used in the past, this film feels nothing like his previous mockumentaries. Guest is best in his element when he is pursuing the world of the rich, vain, and out of touch, and to focus on the past in this strange way makes no sense. The film is a straight up buddy comedy movie, focusing on a rich fop (Perry) who wants to reach the Western coast of the United States before the Lewis and Clark expedition can. He hires a tracker (Farley) to lead a crew of men there, and along the way they get into several kinds of shenanigans. If you were to ask me what those shenanigans were, I would have a hard time telling you, because though there are some interactions with Native Americans, a love triangle, and a near death, this film is very boring and tedious. The comedy is childish, and the characters are brutish ignoramuses most of the time. Perry's performance is never reigned in, and the indignant behavior of a rich man could easily be mistaken for an excessive bi-polar patient. Farley in turn also gives an over-the-top performance, but of all the people in this film, he is simply expected to be that crass and loud. He's really the only acceptable performer in this film, though it does hurt that this had to be his last film, released post humorously. There's just nothing here except an idea for a setting, and otherwise everything else gets garbled, whether it be the petty humor or the moronic sense of pacing.
This is one of those low key comedies that you saw on the top shelf at your local video shop purely by accident when you went in for something else...something good. You noticed it and it intrigued you because you'd never heard of the film. You took it down and looked at the back of the VHS box to see more, hmmm Chris Farley and 'Chandler' from 'Friends', could be good fun. In brief this film is fun but very very very low brow and only works purely because of Farley's great screen presence. When I say fun I mean its good for the odd chuckle or visual moment but overall its complete and utter trash. Dare I say fun trash, I can't deny I liked Farley and his wild, over the top insane physical comedy, childish yes but also amusing. All of this was of course down to his size but his facial expressions could be gold. This is standard Farley fare with everything you would expect from the late comedian. The film is deliberately tacky and cheap looking with plenty of toilet humour, dumb visual gags, unrealistic sequences and Perry is in there purely to attract a bigger audience through his 'Friends' fame. Naturally he does just that by giving us more 'Chandler' wetness than you can shake a stick at, a period set 'Chandler'. If you're a Farley fan then you can't go wrong. I liked it for what it is...just an extremely light hearted comedy no brains required, typical Farley fun fluff.
Considering that this is Chris Farley's last film role before he died, The film is a slight disappointment, but still manages to be entertaining and a decent comedy due to Farley's crazy antics. The film is a decent comedy that I see as a mindless comedic romp, which is what Farley comedies really are. If you're looking for sophisticated, smart humor, then his films aren't for you. Almost Heroes is not the perfect swan song for Chris Farley, but it has enough laughs for you to be entertained. Farley fans will enjoy this one, and he was a good comedic actor who brought a whimsical act to his brand of humor which made him fun to watch. Chris Farley makes this somewhat ordinary film a watchable comedy. I enjoyed the film for what it was and I thought it had enough good funny elements to make it a decent comedy. The film is not perfect, but it manages to be mindless fun, which is really what this film is supposed to be. Expect your usual Chris Farley comedy, and that's what you'll get. The thing with Chris Farley is that he wasn't a comic genius, but he definitely made you laugh or smile. The film could have been much better, but it delivers good laughs that you'd expect from Chris Farley. Farley was underrated, and he was better at delivering laughs compared to Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider. If you want a decent comedy that will make you laugh, then this is the perfect film to watch. Although not one of Farley's best, this film still has everything you'd expect from Chris Farley who is underrated and doesn't deserve the flack he has received. Sadly this was his last film before he died, and his potential remains unknown, but what he did in the years he made us laugh was probably just a small taste of what was to come.
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