Inside Joke 

Corky Romano (PG-13)
Buena Vista Pictures

The phrase "director's debut feature film" usually means that your chances, as an uninformed audience member, of seeing even a moderately entertaining movie are about 70 to 30 against. That's about the equivalent of success that Corky Romano metes out in half-executed attempts at getting any dumb laughs its silly comedy can inspire. Corky Romano is a forced poke at male sexual ambiguity as expressed through a family of mobsters, including their fey black sheep sibling Corky, played by Saturday Night Live's Chris Kattan.

Corky is a yellow, pink and turquoise kind of a guy working as a veterinarian's assistant when his previously distanced, crime-embroiled father (Peter Falk) and two tough brothers (Chris Penn and Peter Berg) send him inside the FBI as an ace undercover man to steal incriminating evidence against them. Nothing near hilarity ensues as the movie bounces between gay camp and flat madcap situations that never dare follow up on the gay behaviors of its erratic protagonist.

You can see where the movie is going, or at least you think you can, until Corky starts courting fellow FBI agent Kate Russo (Vinessa Shaw), a blonde bombshell with an IQ lower than Corky's. In spite of a complete lack of attraction or chemistry, Kate somehow comes around to falling in love (LUV) with Corky.

Perhaps the audience is to believe that Kate will marry Corky and become a foil for his obvious homosexuality. Or perhaps the theme is a broad commentary suggesting that people can and should be able to affect whatever behavioral pretension they dream up even if directly clashes with any inner reality. That's if Corky is to be thought of an intensely effeminate heterosexual guy. Either way, it breaks a code of character identity and works about as well as any glaring mistake against ancient dramatic rules ever could, which is to say it doesn't work at all.


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