|Larry the Cable Guy plays an Army reservist in "Delta Farce." (sam urdank/lionsgate)|
You asked, so we'll tell: 'Farce' misses its mark
How defensive is the ad campaign for "Delta Farce "? The tag line is "War isn't funny . . . but this movie is."
They're half right, anyway. Consider this the sequel to "Ernest in the Army " that the late Jim Varney never got around to making. It's not very good but at least it's not evil.
"Delta Farce" casts Larry the Cable Guy (real name Daniel Lawrence Whitney ; where's the Grey Poupon? ), fellow redneck comic Bill Engvall , and scrawny walking sight-gag D.J. Qualls ("Road Trip ," "Hustle and Flow ") as weekend Army reservists who get shipped to Iraq but literally fall out of the plane and land in Mexico. To them a desert's a desert, and a village oppressed by bandits is an Iraqi town besieged by the Republican Guard.
It's dopey Army comedy in the tradition of "Buck Privates " and "Stripes ," just with the sights aimed lower and blissfully unaware of its own monumental tastelessness. Once Danny Trejo appears as bandit leader Carlos Santana (no, not that one), "Delta Farce" earns some laughs, since the veteran tough guy (last seen as Machete in "Grindhouse ") gets to have fun for a change, singing a karaoke version of "I Will Survive " and displaying sharper comic timing than the leads.
The characters in the movie are politically clueless and proud of it -- a progressive's nightmare and a C&W fan's dream -- but "Delta Farce" backs into satire almost accidentally toward the end, by suggesting any incursion into any nation can be explained away by the media as "another victory in the war on terror." There's a dark little anti-authoritarian guffaw buried somewhere in this movie, but it's much more interested in giving audiences a war we can win.