If you could program AI to deliver a half-assed sequel to Tommy Boy, it would look a lot like Black Sheep. As with a machine, the filmmakers can’t fashion actual comedy, so they settle for a clattering, mechanized imitation of it. Words get strung together to almost sound like jokes. Sight gags resemble something funny from some other movie. Chris Farley and David Spade even vibe in with two robotic performances. And don’t get it twisted: Nobody will ever confuse Tommy Boy with the pinnacle of cinematic humor, but at least that movie has the feel of something made by actual humans.
The, ahem, “plot” is so belligerently stupid, it makes your typical SNL skit feel like a Merchant/Ivory production: Farley—in a wild departure—plays Mike, a sweaty, lumbering, and lovable oaf. Spade—also cast from left field—is Steve, a dweeby, sarcastic jackass. Mike’s older brother is Al (Tim Matheson), who’s currently the frontrunner in the Washington governor’s race. (And seriously, I’ll believe half the universe was wiped out by a purple monster with magic rocks before I’ll ever buy that Farley and Matheson emerged from the same parents.)
As you might guess, Al has a major PR problem: Namely, his little brother is prone to stumbling, slobbering, and dry-humping his way through the scenery. Still, Al loves Mike, so he tries for a gentle solution. Steve, a sardonic young careerist, is sent to manage Mike and steer him away from the spotlight.
The resulting movie is equal parts idiot buddy comedy, idiot road movie, and a raging, fragrant dumpster fire. This isn’t so much a story as a stitchwork of bizarre happenings, such as when Farley and Spade tangle with a wild bat, or the roof gets sheared off their cabin. At some point, Gary Busey wanders into frame with a grenade launcher. If the events of Black Sheep came to you in a dream, you’d probably swear off spicy food before bed.
Throughout the film, Farley and Spade engage in a duel of who can look the most bored. Spoiler alert: Everybody loses, including the audience. Reportedly, Farley had no interest in making this movie, and that contempt emanates from his performance. He defaults to his lazy SNL schtick, screaming and mugging like a man with his nethers caught in a sizzling Foreman grill. As a comedian, Spade has one note—the whiny smartass. Here, he yawns through it like a stoned clerk at the DMV. To be fair, not even John Cleese and Peter Sellers could save this mound of hogshit, but Farley and Spade receive zero points for effort.
On our Cinemavino podcast, I awarded Black Sheep a score of 4/10, a rating that seems strangely generous. I’m not sure how I arrived at that number, except that I was fairly drunk. Now that my head is clear, allow me to tune that down to a 2/10. Further, I fear that my reviews of bad movies can make them sound perversely compelling, like that YouTube video where a lady totals her sedan trying to back out of a Sonic. Let this warning thunder with the sound of doom: I didn’t enjoy Black Sheep as a kid. I flat-out hated it the second time. You’ll be better off watching Tommy Boy. Or spit drying on concrete. I’d be curious to see the AI version of a Farley/Spade movie. It couldn’t be worse than this.
86 min. PG-13. Max.