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‘In the Army Now’

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
August 12, 1994

 


Director:
Daniel Petrie Jr.
Cast:
Pauley Shore;
Andy Dick;
David Alan Grier;
Lori Petty
PG
Parental guidance suggested


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Pauly Shore is the best that he can be, which is not saying much for this icon of MTV cretinism who's "In the Army Now." A flatfooted comedy about military misfits, the picture follows the nincompoop's tiresome transition from an unruly recruit to an officer and a gentleman. It's a tale as old as the jokes, which were already old when the Peloponnesians went to war.

Shore plays Bones Conway, a flake who joins the Army Reserves after he is fired from his minimum-wage job at an appliance store. Joined by his best friend, Jack (Andy Dick), Bones is shipped off to boot camp, where he gets into trouble with his female drill sergeant. "I'm gonna be all over your butt," she threatens. "Is that a promise?" he ripostes. To teach him a lesson, the sergeant makes him do lots and lots of push-ups. On another occasion, he peels heaps of potatoes as penance.

Bones goes on to head a water purification team made up of Jack, the macha Christine (Lori Petty) and the fearful Fred (David Alan Grier). Though Bones may have gained a couple of IQ points during boot camp, he's still no Forrest Gump. But an opportunity for further self-improvement arises when he and his team are sent to supply a Special Forces Unit in Chad. And when the real men can't locate and destroy a mobile Libyan scud base, the task falls to Bones's team.

Filmed with the cooperation of the Army, the Arizona Reserves and the Bureau of Land Management, this film has all the sophistication of a government documentary on crop failure. Eight writers -- one of them director Daniel Petrie Jr. -- collaborated on "In the Army Now," which staggers to a painful end when the four become lost in the Chadian desert where they wander around for about as long as Moses did. Finally, they attract vultures. The amazing thing is that these dutiful birds didn't smell the carrion earlier.

   
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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