|Nothing But Trouble
1991 - PG-13 - Mins.
|Director: Dan Aykroyd
|Starring: John Candy, Demi Moore, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd
|Review by: John Ulmer
Make no mistake, "Nothing But Trouble" (1991) is not a remake of the 1918 film of the same title, nor the 1944 Laurel and Hardy comedy unfortunate enough to bear even the slightest resemblance to this mess. No, it is simply a stand-alone comedy brought to life by the legendary New Age Comedian Dan Aykroyd ("The Blues Brothers"), whose "SNL" skits were a million times funnier than this dreck.
Of course, the names are attractive: Chevy Chase, Demi Moore, Dan Aykroyd, and John Candy. The finished product of their strained efforts is not.
Inspiration? Who needs it! A traveling businessman (Chase) gives his conveniently attractive (and available!) neighbor (Moore) a ride to New Jersey. On the way there, he takes a scenic detour that leaves them crashing into a road sign. A desperate cop bored out of his mind (Candy) takes them to The Judge (Aykroyd), a 106-year-old frailing man with decrepid features and peeling skin. Everything about him and his dark, scary home is perverse and sickening. At dinner, Chase and Moore learn the hard way that when this guy asks if they want hot dogs, he really means it.
Candy also plays another character, a mute female who has the unfortunate task of being Aykroyd's daughter. He - er, she - tries to marry Chase in the movie. Umm...John Candy, what were you thinking?
It's hard to explain the sheer awfulness of this film. It must simply be seen to be rightfully understood. With such A-list talents as Chase, Moore (fresh off of 1990's blockbuster "Ghost"), Candy, and Aykroyd, one would expect better. Much better. The fact that Dan Aykroyd not only directed but also wrote this movie is depressingly disturbing.
It's weird and over-the-top. Take, for instance, the scene involving a funhouse-type rollercoaster train that twists along and launches its victims straight into a man-eating giant lawnmower blade invention. I'm not laughing. It's actually pretty painful to watch such Hollywood talents react to this kind of stuff.
The movie isn't funny. That's its main flaw. The other is that for being a dark lightweight romp it's too dark and yet, at the same time, too over-the-top. There's a scene where Aykroyd, now disguised as two disgusting freak creatures living in the junkyard outside The Judge's house, kidnap Moore and attempt to show off how disgusting they are. It's too gross and too silly and too dark and too obnoxious. For being someone who has helped cook up some very light (and great) comedies ("The Blues Brothers," "Ghostbusters"), Aykroyd seems to be trying to change his style here. This works with some directors. But only those who have already established themselves as accomplished directors of a certain style of filmmaking. This is Aykroyd's first (and probably last) mainstream effort. Why start out on a bad note?
The puzzling question remains long after the credits stop rolling. This is the first instance in which an ex-"SNL" alumni has gotten the chance to try his hand at directing. Sadly, it will probably never happen again.
"Nothing But Trouble" is rated PG-13 for language, violence, vulgarity, crudeness, sexual references, and a twisted reflection upon life. It would be acceptable for most older pre-teens.
How ironic a title for a film that delivers exactly what it promises...