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THE WHOOPEE BOYS. Directed by John Byrum; written by Steve Zacharias, Jeff Buhai and David Obst, produced by Adam Fields and Peter MacGregor-Scott for Paramount. Starring Paul Rodriguez and Michael O'Keefe. Rated R (language and general, all-purpose vulgarity).


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The best thing about The Whoopee Boys is its bad jokes. Now by "bad" I don't mean unfunny—just obscene, gross and disgusting.

Better movies have been ruined by such generous doses of indecent humor. The Whoopee Boys is almost saved this way.

It's hard to imagine a more ridiculous, boring and altogether dreadful waste of time and money than The Whoopee Boys—without Rodriguez' distasteful one-liners. With them, it's still hard to see why it was made.

The plot is SO full of holes that before long you stop expecting it to make any sense. The story involves a couple of supposedly loveable rogues, Jake (O'Keefe) and Barney (Rodriguez), a damsel in distress, and a slimy villian after both the lady's body and her fortune. But the script can't use even such commonplace types in any comprehensible, much less interesting, way.

The characters in The Whoopee Boys are all one-dimensional and completely forgettable. Even though one or two others besides Barney do get credit for a few laughs.

The hardest one to watch is Jake, strangely enough, since O'Keefe is the best actor in the crowd. But although he delivers his one or two funny lines adequately, he's completely miscast. He's just not believeable as a character who washes his hair in a motel swimming pool.

I keep wondering what The Great Santini would have said if his son (played extremely well by O'Keefe a few years ago) had actually turned out this way.

So enough criticism—the movie is funny, right? Well, yes, it is—if your tolerance for off-color humor is abnormally high. Most of the jokes involve sex. But other avenues of bad taste—bigotry, cruelty to animals—aren't neglected. In fact, it's these more unusual efforts that keep the laughs coming. The sexual bits are repetitive and wear mighty thin early on.

Still, I laughed a lot watching this movie. Granted, I was embarrassed to be doing it. And none of the jokes are repeatable in polite company so I'll get no social mileage out of them. But Rodriguez' exhuberance is infectious. His manner is SO open and almost innocent that I couldn't help myself.

Don't take this confession as a recommendation, though. The Whoopee Boys is a terrible movie, except when Rodriguez is holding forth. It's full of characters that don't make any sense and scenes that lead nowhere. Wait for Rodriguez' next movie. It's bound to be better.

August 27, 1986

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