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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Chris Kattan, Fred Willard, David Leo Schultz, BJ Bales, Katie Bryan, Electra Avellan, Kip King
DIRECTED BY
Jesse Bryan
SCREENPLAY
Jesse Bryan, David Schultz
MPAA RATING
NR (Equiv. to "PG")
RUNNING TIME
90 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Level 33 Entertainment (DVD)
DVD EXTRAS
The film really is a blooper reel. Seriously.
 "Scout's Honor" Review 
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It's better than Evil Alien Conquerors. Much better.

When it comes to SNL alum Chris Parnell and cinema, expectations are low. Very low. After all, this is the guy who starred in Evil Alien Conquerors, which rests comfortably at the top of my list of the worst films ever made.

It's not that Parnell has suddenly become an extraordinary actor or even just accidentally found himself in a really good film, but there's something freakishly admirable about a distrib's willingness to market a film as "the dumbest comedy ever made" that warrants a little bit of extra consideration and, perhaps, just a bit of compassionate film criticism.

Scout's Honor is not a good film. In fact, Scout's Honor is a bad film. However, unlike Evil Alien Conquerors this happens to be a bad film that is worth watching.

No, really.

Two brothers, David (David Schultz) and Tim (BJ Bales) play Sandler-like characters existing at the bottom rung of an obviously low-budget summer camp run by their father where they've managed to exist for 20 years without ever having acquired any of the treasured Tiger Scout badges. When their father (Kip King, Kattan's real life father) announces that he's leaving the camp to join the circus with his wife, the two dimwitted brothers join forces to finally win a badge and win the camp while facing opposition from their badge-laden obnoxious brother, Brandon (Chris Parnell). They might just try to win the hearts of their secret sweethearts, Amy (Electra Avellan) and Cindy (Katie Bryan) along the way.

Mostly, they will do things like wet the bed, tell fart jokes, poop the bed, fail at getting badges, act stunningly and genetically stupid and, you guessed it, they're going to win our hearts along the way while we learn to hate their equally immature brother Brandon, whom Kattan plays not so much as a dimwitted evildoer but as a misguided and socially inept misfit with psychological issues.

In virtually any universe in the world, director Jesse Bryan's film, which is officially titled Scout's Honor: Badge to the Bone, would be considered a final nail in the coffin for Kattan's cinematic career. However, there's something about Scout's Honor that's different and that makes it an absolutely perfect film for those Saturday afternoons when you sit on your couch naked eating corn chips, scratching your balls and drinking beer.

Yep, it's true. Scout's Honor is the perfect corn chip eatin', beer drinking and ball scratchin' kind of flick. I have a feeling that quote's NOT going to end up on the film's DVD.

Oh well.

The simple truth is that despite the film's complete and utter stupidity, the correct way to market it may very well be that it's the "dumbest movie ever made that is still worth watching."

The delightfully dumb duo of Tim and Dave is perfectly cast, with Indianapolis native David Schultz (who also co-penned the film) taking the Nick Swardson role in an Adam Sandler role as a lovable loser sidekick who means well but hardly ever does well. As the more mature and protective brother, BJ Bales is a calmer and more socially awkward Sandler. Together, these two are a really strange blend of brotherly sweetness and summer camp hijinks.

Chris Kattan's take on Brandon is seldom funny, frequently sad and, at times, borders on downright psychotic. In an Adam Sandler film, Brandon would likely be represented by some evil company or opponent who we all know damn well has no chance of ever getting the best of Sandler despite their obvious superiority in almost every way. Kattan's Brandon, on the other hand, comes off like a Chuckie doll with a penchant for scouting. Kattan's scenes play out a lot like Grandma's Boys, a sub-par Happy Madison film that Sandler obviously financed to keep his buddies employed while he took some time off to get married and become a parent. This is not, necessarily, to say that Kattan is particularly awful here. However, director Jesse Bryan never really mines the character for its psychotic edge and just a little bit too often Kattan feels like he's living in his own cinematic universe here. Yet, he has moments, fleeting ones, where you get a little glimpse into where Kattan is going and the distinct feeling that he had a vision for this character that never really comes to life.

Kip King has a couple deadpan funny scenes as the camp's owner, while funnyman Fred Ward does a Eugene Levy by showing up unexpectedly in this lowbrow indie comedy and delivering several silly monologues as a camp director who never really appears to direct anything.

If you're expecting a hardcore comedy or, for that matter, anything resembling an actual linear storyline you'll likely find yourself stunningly disappointed by Scout's Honor. Indie filmmakers are likely to cringe at the thought that this obvious cinematic disaster somehow garnered an estimated $3 million production budget.  Yet, fans of B-movies, bad comedies and those old 70's and early 80's teen comedies will likely find something to enjoy here it's hard not to get the idea that there are actors here who are capable of doing much better work.

So, grab your corn chips, grab a beer and get naked. It's time for Scout's Honor: Badge to the Bone.

Scout's Honor: Badge to the Bone
is available for purchase and rental on Amazon and Netflix. For more information, visit the Scout's Honor page on the Level 33 Entertainment website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic

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