Every week, I scour Netflix for a movie rated at one star and put it in my queue, suffering through it for your entertainment so that you don't have to. In the past, I've taken on backyard wrestling, softcore Iraq war porn and lesbian prison camp anime, and now it's time to do it again.
National Lampoon's Pucked (2006)
Starring: Jon Bon Jovi. That is not a joke. This movie literally stars Bon Jovi, of the rock band Bon Jovi.
In the entire history of film, has there been a brand that fell from glory harder than National Lampoon? It's the brand that led off with Animal House, one of the best comedies of all time, but in the years since, the collapse of the magazine let to the transfer of the name to a company best known for marketing Tim Conway's Dorfvideos to insomniacs in the mid-90s, and it's all been downhill from there. And down they have gone, sailing right past a made-for-TV "sequel" to Christmas Vacationstarring Randy Quaid and smacking right into an attempt at a sexy version of Slap Shot starring Jon Bon Jovi.
On the surface, this isn't an entirely terrible idea. Hell, by Worst of Netflix standards, it's probably the best premise we've had since "a doctor punches out a demon that is also cancer." But things start to go wrong pretty quickly when David Faustino and Curtis Armstrong show up to set the stage in a framing sequence, making it clear that the entirety of this movie is a flashback narrated by Bud Bundy and Booger from Revenge of the Nerds.
With that introduction out of the way, it's time for the plot, although Booger's "Women?! Playin' HOCKEY?!" would've done the job just fine for the trailer, if movies like this actually had trailers and weren't just shipped en masse to the blowout bin at Blockbuster. Instead, there's an achingly long setup that makes it very clear that the producers wanted the movie to be about hot girls ice skating naked...
...but were too chicken to actually pull the trigger, and settled instead on throwing together a flimsy, paint-by-numbers allegory for the credit crisis. Bon Jovi is Frank Hopper, a shiftless loser that, according to his love interest and plot-hole filler, "used to be a damn good lawyer" who puts his income down as $1,000,000 when taking a customer survey and is given a stack of pre-approved credit cards that he uses to finance his all-girl hockey league. He's brought to trial for fraud but gives an impassioned speech involving high fives and putting a dog on the stand, and is cleared of all charges.
That's the entire plot of the movie, and since that could've been done in half an hour, I'm going to assume that the screenwriters were counting on the producers to pad things out with the sexiness, and for a movie that sells itself with a box where BJ and his crew of Saucy French Canadiennes framed by heavily airbrushed legs, it falls pretty short on that front. There's the requisite ten seconds of nudity of course - easily chopped out just in case USA Up All Night ever comes back and needs something to fill time - but the rest of the time is taken up with jokes that feel like they were lifted wholesale from a CBS comedy. Eventually the girls skate onto the ice in daisy dukes and midriff tops (50 minutes into a 90-minute movie), but they quickly dress in full hockey gear so that they can get on to the business of completely ripping off Slap Shot's famous National Anthem scene.
Unlike most Worst of Netflix entries, though, this one has a strong redeeming quality:
Jon Bon Jovi's romantic and legal rival, Norman, as played by Cary Elwes in what appears to be Dwight Schrute cosplay, complete with mid-70s Clark Kent glasses and a curly wig. Elwes appears to be the only one willing to acknowledge that he's in a terrible direct-to-video comedy, and spends every second on camera chewing scenery and speaking with a voice cribbed from every early-90s stand-up comedian's "Rich White Man" impression. He's a hoot.
But then again, the fact that the most enjoyable thing about a movie that promises sexy hockey is the star of The Princess Bride doing cartoon voices in a bad wig probably doesn't do a whole lot to recommend it.
|Chris Sims is a freelance comedy writer from South Carolina. He briefly attended USC before he dropped out to spend more time with Grand Theft Auto, and his career subsequently took the path that you might expect from someone who makes that sort of decision. He blogs at http://www.the-isb.com and creates comics at http://www.actionagecomics.com.|