A holiday turkey arrived a day early in theaters on Wednesday, but instead of generating good will and an endorphin rush, this ugly bird will just leave a bad taste in your mouth.
"Home Fries" is a distasteful alleged comedy about two dopey small-town Texas brothers Dorian (Luke Wilson) and Angus (Jake Busey) who use their weekend gig as Air National Guard helicopter pilots to literally scare their stepfather to death.
Their manipulative mom, Beatrice (Catherine O'Hara), won't be satisfied, however, until the brothers also kill the stepfather's mistress, and make sure that there are no witnesses.
Unfortunately, the possible witness and the mistress are the same woman, Sally Jackson (Drew Barrymore). She works at the local Burger Mart (yes, the logo IS a big BM) and her drive-thru headphones picked up some of the helicopter intercom chatter between the brothers.
Sally, who didn't know her lover was married, (even though "small town" is an understatement here) is carrying his baby.
Dorian gets a job at Burger Mart to find out if anyone has figured out the interference on the headphones, and falls in love with Sally. Then he must figure out how to protect Sally from his murderous brother and mother.
This is a movie that thinks it finds humor in such side-splitting topics as seeing a shotgun-toting lunatic crash a birthday party at a burger joint, endless white trash stereotyping and fratricide.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's OK for a comedy to have no sense of propriety. It's deadly for it not to have a sense of humor.
A movie like this needs a spark of inspired lunacy to make it work, but there's nothing here to turn it into a Texas version of "Fargo."
The movie is condescending to all of its characters who are nasty at worst and stupid at best. Even the supposedly sympathetic characters are more pathetic than anything else - a trampy dunce and a weak, dopey accomplice to a murder.
Nor is there a distinguished performance in the bunch. Drew Barrymore, in her red curls, looks like Susan Sarandon on a bad-hair day - and a bland acting day. Luke Wilson's best performance is still as the slightly slow-witted sheriff who falls for Scully in an "X Files" episode.
Dean Parisot's direction is indifferent, giving "Home Fries" the look of a made for USA cable channel flick, rather than the would-be indie cult fave it wants so desperately to be.
There are a few snickers to be had here or there but the long stretches between them are deadly. Really, the wittiest thing about the movie is the play on words in the title.
This batch of home fries is like something that got scraped off the dirty grill before the health department raided the joint. Anyone who spends good money on tickets to "Home Fries" is sure to feel burned.