Rock Slyde -
It’s sort of like the
chicken and egg conundrum for films: If there is a fantastic, rock solid
comic performance anchoring a not all-that-great movie, which do you credit
first? Do you point out how terrific that the lead role is and wish that
the rest of the movie could keep up, or do you bemoan the fact that such an
undistinguished film would squander its star’s good work?
One thing is for
certain. Patrick Warburton is the main – perhaps only – reason to see
Rock Slyde - Private Eye.
is a parody of the
old-fashioned hard-boiled detective film noirs of the 20s, 30s and
40s – but it is set in modern Los Angeles. Imagine Sam Spade obsessing
about his eBay rankings, driving a Smart car, hiding a history in musical
gay porn and eating Cobb Salads and you know exactly where this movie is
It’s certainly not the world’s most novel idea, bringing old-fashioned
gumshoes into a world that has passed them by. In fact, during the 70s and
80s alone this was a pretty standard plotline – popping up in films like
Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Murder By Death, The Black Bird, Dead Men
Don’t Wear Plaid, The Cheap Detective and TV series like Tenspeed and
Brown Shoe and The Law & Harry McGraw.
Rock Slyde are strangely
bucking the trend. It’s like they are hoping that the idea is so retro that
it is new again. Granted, it is a style that has not been done all that often since the
heyday of Neil Simon (who was responsible for two of the five
above-referenced movies), so the makers of
It’s not. But Warburton’s complete submersion into the title character
almost makes it seem fresh. Warburton plays it all straight. No matter how
ridiculous his circumstances may be he stays in character. His
unflappability makes it all seem funnier than it really is.
Granted, this is playing right into Warburton’s strong suit. Best known as
Elaine’s macho boyfriend Puddy in Seinfeld, Warburton has made a bit
of a specialty in mocking standard gender expectations by playing stoic
manly guys doing goofy things. Beyond Seinfeld, he took that tack as
the title character in the cult TV series The Tick and in his current
sitcom Rules of Engagement.
As long as Rock Slyde is focusing on the trials and tribulations of
the lead gumshoe, it is consistently amusing. However when it strays to a
religious group led by Andy Dick that is a too-obvious parody of Scientology
and a strained love story with the clingy femme fatale who hires
Slyde (funny and beautiful actress Rena Sofer is completely wasted in
the thankless role), Rock Slyde starts to sputter.
Then there are a series of unremarkable cameos by the likes of Jason
Alexander, Lea Thompson, Eric Roberts, Tom Bergeron,
Alice in Chains leader Jerry Cantrell and Guillermo from
Jimmy Kimmel Live that add nothing at all to the film’s forward
However, Warburton is the fuel that keeps it all going. For him alone,
Rock Slyde is worth seeing.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: August 5, 2010.