In The Army Now

1994, Movie, PG, 91 mins

Review

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This vehicle for Pauly Shore, who became a minor celebrity on MTV for reasons increasingly obscure, is basically a remake of STRIPES designed for anyone who would find the earlier film too intellectually challenging.

Bones Conway (Pauly Shore) is a neo-hippie goofball loser with no sense of responsibility and an endless supply of wisecracks. After he and his best friend Jack Kaufman (Andy Dick) get fired, they join the Army Reserves, hoping to earn enough money to open a stereo store. First they have to survive eight weeks of basic training, and Conway has to survive the inevitable haircut. Of course, the drill instructor (Lynn Whitfield) takes an immediate dislike to Conway. There follows a montage of Conway doing various dangerously stupid things--e.g., he throws the pin, not the grenade--and doing endless push-ups. After basic training, Conway and Kaufman sign up to become water purification experts. In training class, they befriend Fred Ostroff (David Alan Grier), an uptight dentist, and Christine Jones (Lori Petty), who is gung-ho about fighting. Then the four reservists are called to active duty.

In Chad, where UN forces are preparing to fight Libya, Conway is still a goofball and makes an enemy in Sgt. Stern (Esai Morales) from Special Forces. Sent in a convoy to take water to the front, our four heroes get lost and end up on foot, stranded in the desert. Conway assumes command of the team and leads them first to some life-saving water, and then into the hands of the Libyans. Regardless, Jones and Conway have fallen in love. They end up sharing a cell with Stern, who's been shot; when they escape during an air raid, they're entrusted with completing Stern's mission to target a secret Libyan missile base for air assault. When the air strike fails, Conway rallies his friends to be all they can be, and they launch an improbable attack on the base and blow it up. Back in the States, Conway and Jones get together, and Kaufman and Conway open their stereo store.

In his third film, Pauly Shore (ENCINO MAN, SON-IN-LAW) follows in the footsteps of Ernest P. Worrell, another favorite of children and idiots. IN THE ARMY NOW is in no way clever: the plot is connect-the-dots generic, the characters are straw, and there isn't a laugh in it. Shore's character--an immature, SoCal mall rat--may have been tolerable introducing videos on MTV, but 90 straight minutes of his lackadaisical schtick borders on torture. (Violence.) leave a comment

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