Film Review: ‘Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?’

To call this feeble comedy a misfire would be to give it more credit than it's due.

Andrea Anders, Matt Passmore, Horatio Sanz, John Michael Higgins, Lauren Bowles, Christine Estabrook, John Heard, Kevin Conway, Cloris Leachman.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4196832/

There are bad movies, and then there are worse movies, and then there are full-bore misfires such as “Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?” Loosely based on Aristophanes’ “Lysistrada” — the 2,000-year-old Greek play that previously has inspired everything from a Wild West movie musical (1955’s “The Second Greatest Sex”) to an undeservedly short-lived Broadway extravaganza  (“Lysistrada Jones,” a.k.a “Give It Up!”) to a Spike Lee Joint (“Chi-Raq”) — writer-director Matt Cooper’s smutty, smarmy farrago plays like the sort of wink-wink, nudge-nudge B-movie flotsam that might have amused habitués of Deep South drive-ins during the 1970s.

The level of humor is established early on when the audience is informed that everything will unfold in a small Texas town where the population is 6,969. (No, really.) Cooper evidences a colossal amount of tastelessness in launching his plot by having a grade-schooler swiping a handgun from his father’s closet to impress a classmate, then inadvertently wounding a crosswalk guard. It’s difficult to forget how many times such a tragedy has unfolded in real life, and pretty close to impossible not to feel uncomfortable as this misadventure is played for laughs.

Actually, Jenna Keeley (Andrea Anders) doesn’t think the near-fatal gunplay is funny at all. Indeed, she’s so upset that she attempts to convince her husband Glenn (Matt Passmore), a fellow who likes to hunt and loves to own guns, to give up his weapons for the sake of his family and society at large. Not surprisingly, Glenn refuses to have anyone, even his wife, limit his right to bear arms. One thing leads to another, through a series of complications that are meant to be funny, but aren’t, and Jenna eventually succeeds in uniting other wives and girlfriends in town in her campaign to withhold sexual favors from men who aren’t willing to disarm.

When it isn’t straining for cheap laughs with horny guys, alluring wives and girlfriends, stereotypically sex-obsessed Hispanics, and blustering gun-culture extremists (at one point, an NRA-type offers to provide hookers for sexually frustrated townsmen), “Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?” relies on veteran supporting players to make fools of themselves. Cloris Leachman shamelessly panders as a randy golden-ager whose foul-mouthed quips about fellatio, vibrators, and other naughty bits are meant to elicit giggles, while John Heard, cast as the town’s sheriff, suggests that bashing a shark with a bar stool in “Sharknado” really wasn’t the low point of his career.

To say anything else about this debacle, or the people for whom it provided an easy paycheck, would be needlessly unkind.

Popular on Variety

Film Review: 'Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?'

Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Sept. 13, 2016. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 95 MIN.

Production: An Area 23a release of a The Vault production. Producers: Lori Miller, Matt Cooper. Executive producer: David Cooper.

Crew: Director, writer: Matt Cooper. Camera (color): Armando Salas. Editor: Luis Colina.

With: Andrea Anders, Matt Passmore, Horatio Sanz, John Michael Higgins, Lauren Bowles, Christine Estabrook, John Heard, Kevin Conway, Cloris Leachman.

More Film

  • Mackenzie Davis Terminator Dark Fate

    ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “Terminator: Dark Fate.” Ads placed for the sci-fi action film had an estimated media value of $6.81 million through Sunday for 796 national ad airings [...]

  • Judy & Punch review

    Damon Herriman Stands Out as 'The Nightingale' and 'Lambs of God' Lead AACTA Nominations

    Dark thriller, “The Nightingale” and miniseries “Lambs of God” lead the pack at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards. In nominations announced on Wednesday, they picked up 15 and 18 nods, respectively. Jennifer Kent’s “The Nightingale” was one of six films nominated in the best film category. With others including Mirrah Foulkes’ [...]

  • Daisy Ridley is Rey in STAR

    'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Scores Best First-Day Atom Ticket Sales for a 'Star Wars' Film

    Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker” has racked up the best first day of advance ticket sales for a “Star Wars” movie ticketed by Atom. Sales launched during the half time of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” Atom’s overall first-day record was set in April by Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame.” But “Star Wars: The Rise of [...]

  • Cardi B

    Cardi B Joins Vin Diesel in 'Fast & Furious 9'

    Cardi B has joined the cast of Universal’s “Fast & Furious 9” in an undisclosed role. It’s the rapper’s first movie part since her role as the stripper Diamond in STX’s drama “Hustlers.” Vin Diesel disclosed the casting Tuesday in a post on his Instagram account with a video that showed him and Cardi B [...]

  • James Wan

    Film News Roundup: James Wan's Horror Thriller 'Malignant' Gets August Release

    In today’s film news roundup, James Wan’s “Malignant” gets a late-summer release, a Rita Hayworth documentary is shooting and Women in Animation have announced diversity awards winners. RELEASE DATE Warner Bros. has set an Aug. 14 release date for James Wan’s horror thriller “Malignant.” Wan will direct the movie, based on a story by Wan [...]

  • Michael Shannon Benedict Cumberbatch Tuppence Middleton

    How Martin Scorsese Saved 'Current War' From Harvey Weinstein

    Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon finally gets to release his version of his long-in-the-making “The Current War.” The film, about the competition between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, was originally set to be distributed by the Weinstein Company after Harvey Weinstein recut it, much to Gomez-Rejon’s chagrin. To make matters worse, Weinstein premiered the movie at the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content