on August 04, 1995 by Michael Lightcap
Within this outdoor comedy's first minute, you know it's going to be sun-baking terrible, and there are 83 minutes to go before the shady relief of the closing credits. Striding down a big-city street to the tune of "Stayin' Alive" (the opening montage is lifted from "Saturday Night Fever"), looking scuzzy in his tacky '70s-hip gear and happily being a world-class boob, express delivery man Max Grabelski (Daniel Stern) might as well have schmuck, putz, imbecile et al. plastered all over his moronic puss. In rapid order, he is framed for the death of a millionaire businessman that he has been unwittingly assisting in a money-laundering scheme, is chased by the FBI for the (supposed) murder, and finds himself out in the wooded wilds, where he's mistaken for their overnight-hike leader by a group of five boy and one girl Ranger Scouts.
"Bushwhack ed" sets off on the trail of stupid fun, but said fun remains hidden in a forest of story holes, recycled shtick, wincingly awful toilet humor and preposterous sight gags. Nearly all the adults, good and bad, become cartoons under Greg Beeman's hackneyed direction, but Stern is the worst offender with his relentless mugging and flailing. The kids, stereotypes of neighborhood brats (albeit resourceful ones), have scarcely more dimension. Composer Bill Conti only worsens matters with a score that via sheer loudness attempts to supply the emotion and suspense lacking onscreen.
Most dismaying of all, this movie aimed for the younger side of the family trade totes a PG-13 rating. Although crude dialogue is the cited culprit, two sequences one in which Grabelski graphically uses male and female dolls to answer the scouts' questions about the birds and the bees, another in which he blithely orchestrates a group urination over a mountain ledge (the joke being that a corrupt FBI agent [Jon Polito] below thinks it's raining on a scorching summer day) -- probably figured into the MPAA deliberations. Starring Daniel Stern. Directed by Greg Beeman. Written by John Jordan & Danny Byers and Tommy Swerdlow & Michael Goldberg. Produced by Charles B. Wessler and Paul Schiff. A Fox release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for crude dialogue. Running time: 90 min.
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