Hollywood Pictures dumped this lame Joe Pesci-Danny Glover comedy without press screenings, and the chief mystery is why this unfunny item didn't go directly to homevid. Perhaps they're hoping "Gone Fishin' " will pick up some spillover business from filmgoers facing sold-out showings during the second weekend of "The Lost World: Jurassic Park." Pic is unlikely to be around for the third frame.

Hollywood Pictures dumped this lame Joe Pesci-Danny Glover comedy without press screenings, and the chief mystery is why this unfunny item didn’t go directly to homevid. Perhaps they’re hoping “Gone Fishin’ ” will pick up some spillover business from filmgoers facing sold-out showings during the second weekend of “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.” Pic is unlikely to be around for the third frame.

Premise has lifelong buddies Joe (Pesci) and Gus (Glover) winning a contest and getting a free Everglades fishing trip. They’re working-class guys who are so good-naturedly stupid the film comes across as an unwitting tribute to the films of Huntz Hall. Pesci plays his role with a speech impediment, and is given to saying “Holy shmokes.”

Along the way everything goes wrong: Their car is stolen by a murderous con man (Nick Brimble), they’re caught in two runaway boat chases (one on dry land), their hotel has been destroyed by Hurricane Andrew, they accidentally blow up another hotel, and two women (Rosanna Arquette, Lynn Whitfield) appear infrequently, just to provide some contrast to the two middle-aged, dumpy protagonists.

Film is so formulaic that virtually every plot point is telegraphed way in advance. If Gus keeps talking about Joe’s bad memory, you know some point is going to turn on his ability to remember. If Joe complains about Gus’ sleepwalking, you know he’s going to do it at an inconvenient moment.

Not even a string of cameos can save the film. Willie Nelson appears briefly as the perfect fisherman, and an unbilled Louise Fletcher and Maury Chaykin drop in as well. Chaykin, at least, injects some life into a nothing role with an eccentric turn as an enthusiastic waiter.

Tech credits are unmemorable, but Randy Edelman’s heavy-handed score needs to be singled out as especially fitting the dismal proceedings. A reference to “Deliverance” is actually a cue for a banjo chord.

Gone Fishin'

Production

A Buena Vista release of a Hollywood Pictures presentation, in association with Caravan Pictures, of a Roger Birnbaum production. Produced by Roger Birnbaum, Julie Bergman Sender. Executive producer, Jill Mazurzky Cody. Co-producers, Richard H. Prince, Lou Arkoff. Directed by Christopher Cain. Screenplay, Jill Mazurzky Cody, Jeffrey Abrams.

Crew

Camera (Technicolor), Dean Semler; editor, Jack Hofstra; music, Randy Edelman; production design, Lawrence Miller; art direction, Michael Rizzo, Phil Dagort; set decoration, Cloudia; costume design, Lizzy Gardiner; sound (Dolby Digital), Tim Cooney; visual effects supervisor, Erik Henry; assistant directors, Doug Metzger, Clifford C. Coleman; second unit directors, Mickey Gilbert, Gary Capo; second unit camera, Capo, Dick Bowen; casting, Rick Montgomery, Dan Parada. Reviewed at the National Amusements Cleveland Circle, Boston, May 30, 1997. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 94 min.

With

Joe Waters - Joe Pesci
Gus Green - Danny Glover
Rita - Rosanna Arquette
Angie - Lynn Whitfield
Billy (Catch) Pooler - Willie Nelson
Dekker Massey - Nick Brimble
Phil Beasly - Gary Grubbs
Donna Waters - Carol Kane
Cookie Green - Edythe Davis

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