I got out (was released) from Date Night the film the other night and immediately went home to find a DVD to reinspire my love of comedy, one that I hadn’t seen for a while.
And while Ford hasn’t exactly aged gracefully and at times it is lamentably dated it is a reminder of when edgy meant something.
But first a message to the Mainstream:
Ford Fairlane is a character (I know, I know, it is also a car. That is supposed to be a little joke as well, but in the old film called The Adventures of Ford Fairlane he is a character.)
Ford is a detective that specialises in the music industry, he is not particularly polite, in fact you could say he has a mean streak.
He swears (a lot!), uses crude innuendo constantly, is pretentious, patronising, homophobic, aloof, derisive, belittling and treats women like objects (at best).
He smokes constantly, is totally predisposed with his appearance and has a name for his penis that he freely shares with strangers, (both the name and the penis).
He also shouts “OOOHHHHH!!!” at the end of many of his so called jokes for some reason.
If none of that sounds like your cup of tea, as Ford himself might say, please fuck off back to Wisconsin.
Not the Mainstream”
The fact that Ford swears and is in general terms a self centred prick isn’t supposed to be funny in itself, but it is a relief that in the main most of the jokes here, funny or not, do not revolve around accidentally ingesting someone else’s bodily fluids, (American Pie, Road Trip, countless imitators).
The comedy is crude and plentiful, Ford never says anything that isn’t either an attempted joke or at least stylised to try to make it sound cool. Embarrassing as it is some 20 years later I still have a few Ford-isms that slip out from time to time in appropriate situations, (and inappropriate ones).
The action is OK and the film moves along quickly to the next ridiculous situation, Yello puts a cracking soundtrack behind it and there are more forgotten 80s musicians than you can poke a stick at.
On top of this the list of character actors who pop up periodically is impressive and they are each funny even while Andrew Dice Clay does his best to dominate every scene. And he’s in every one.
Ed O’Neill, Gilbert Gottfried, Robert Englund, David Patrick Kelly, Watne Newton (!) and even Priscilla Presley (!!) try to squeeze some laughs out in their Will Ferrell roles. (Meaning Will Ferrell only works in small doses and should stick to bit characters, as his shtick is very tiresome when stretched over 90 minutes.
The only disappointing thing is that the cavalcade of bimbos that permeate the film all leave their clothes on the entire time. Wasted opportunity there.
Ford Fairlane is light entertainment for those who have developed a tolerance to profanity and so humour some might view as offensive, which should be anyone over 25 with a sense of humour, but too often isn’t.
Andrew Dice Clay was never really funny to me as a stand up comic, I rented a couple of his stand up DVDs and was bitterly disappointed to say the least. But here he has taken a one note character and stretched that one note over 90 minutes to make a dated yet still funny film that deserves a look.
Even though ADC never made another film that was any good, it is always a shame that they didn’t even try a sequel so that Ford could don the cowhide jacket another time.
Final Rating – 8 / 10. Take it for what it is, a funny late 80s comedy featuring a million jokes that flies or fails on how you view Andrew Dice Clay. Here, and only here, I like him. (I guess this one film is his niche!)