The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
11Jun/100

The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

Danny DISLIKEAndrew Dice Clay. Have you heard of this guy? Have you ever heard any of his stand-up? I haven't. Kinda glad about it.

Apparently he was a big deal back in the early 90's, and his stand-up was chock full of bad taste, misogyny, racism, and every slur someone says to shock themselves into stardom. Sometimes history is kinder on these people in retrospect, but considering the spectacularly unfunny Adventures of Ford Fairlane, his shtick is an embarrassing time capsule of terrible 80's and 90's humor that's almost painful to experience in it's thundering idiocy.

Clay stars as Ford Fairlane, the rock n' roll detective. If you can't grasp that, it's okay, the movie will repeat it for you a half dozen times in the first five minutes; this movie wasn't made for anyone with attention spans.

Fairlane solves crimes, beds beautiful women, and throws out lame put down after put down. It's always a mortifying sign when the most sympathetic, funny and interesting character in the film is played by Gilbert Godfried, and even saying that Godfried's character is any of those adjectives beyond their existence slightly above absolute zero would be exaggerating.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. On top of the painfully lame insults ("That's what I call you because you're a jerk off, jerk off."), Clay throws in an "Ohhhhh!" after each punchline just to drive home that, yes, that is the punchline, please laugh now or be ostracized.

Clay spends the first few minutes of the film in a night club, tracking down a guy who's been threatening to rape and kill a girl pop group. He threatens to cut the guys balls off, and let's the guy escape, insisting that the man has learned his lesson. Great police work there, Lou.

We get a glimpse into his life, as we find that he keeps getting paid from rock stars in things that aren't money. Hilariously, one of these things is A KOALA! I know! Wacky! A KOALA! And not just any koala, but the worst koala puppet ever put together, looking akin to dryer lint on some wires. Wacky!

Clay bemoans this to his secretary, played by Lauren Holly, who stuck as a character somewhere between "tits on parade" and "plot convenience." You see, she sees the parade of women going through Ford Fairlane's life, but she wants to tie him down and make him hers. She works for payment in kisses. For this character to exist as is, she would have had to have had a painful past of abuse and general psychosis.

For a specific example of this, at some point in the film, Fairlane brings his secretary to a fancy outdoor party. Besides being an opportunity for Clay to zing some rich people with gay jokes, we also get the delightful scene where he finds a bit of pâté distasteful and, unable to swallow it, kisses Holly and pushes it into her mouth. She spits it out shortly thereafter, but this only seems to confirm his roguish charms to her.

The plot of the film, for what it is, involves a dead rock star, a murdered DJ, and a missing girl. The missing girl's name is Zuzu Petals (oh god, it feels like someone is stabbing me in the face with postmodernism), and she has a CD that fits with a CD that Ford has that must be run at the same time in a computer with another CD...

I must admit, the mystery seems almost intriguing until about twenty minutes in when you realize the movie is only using it as an excuse for explosions. Most of the threads are summarily ignored after each fireball or poorly stage fistfight. And, to go ahead and ruin what little of a mystery there is for you, in perhaps what dates the movie the most, it turns out to be that the film's villain has an evil plan... to pirate music! On CDs! The devious bastard!

The film is filled with C-level celebrity cameos: Wayne Newton, Priscilla Presley, Tone Loc, Gilbert Godfried, Sheila E., Robert Englund, Morris Day... I'm going to be honest, in the cosmic sense of film making, these are not the kind of cameos you want, these are the kind of cameos you deserve.

Looking over my notes, I have three things left to cover. First off, Clay spends a good chunk of time talking to "Stanley, the Power Drill." That's a euphemism for his penis. And that's about as funny as that joke gets.

There's also a portion where Fairlane is forced to hide from some hitmen in a sorority. This film's view of a sorority is mostly about pillow fights, deep throating corn dogs, and other savory things along that ilk. Clay reacts to all of this with mouth agape horniness, and quickly volunteers to be made an honorary member of the sorority in order to please Stanley.

If you even managed a stray thought that this portrayal might possibly be offensive to women, these scenes are also intercut with Holly's secretary being tortured and thrown out of a second story window by previously mentioned hitmen. Holly manages to get away with nothing but a limp that disappears after a few scenes, but contrasting Clay's libido with the violent torture of another woman is either completely disgusting or brilliantly subversive. Considering the rest of the film, I shall weigh in on the former.

My last note from this movie was "Holy god is the ending dumb" and I don't think I have to elaborate there.

In 1990, both Adventures of Ford Fairlane and Ghosts Can't Do It tied for Worst Picture at the Razzies. While Ghosts Can't Do It is an infuriating, mindless piece of shit that deserves to be reviled for ages to come, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane is a pathetic limp piece of work that doesn't deserve the crappy DVD it's printed on, and should be forgotten as soon as humanly possible.

Oh god, and I even forgot to mention the wise cracking kid sidekick.

The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990)

This "film" is currently available on DVD.

Directed by Renny Harlin
Written by James Cappe
Starring Andrew Dice Clay and "a koala"

Posted by Danny

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