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  Disorderlies Fat And FatuousBuy this film here.
Year: 1987
Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: Mark Morales, Darren Robinson, Damon Wimbley, Ralph Bellamy, Anthony Geary, Tony Plana, Troy Byer, Helen Reddy, Marco Rodríguez, Tetchie Agbayani, Laura Hunter, Donnie Simpson, Ray Parker Jr, Rick Nielsen, Lisa Kingston, Jo Marie Payton, Linda Hopkins
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Winslow Lowry (Anthony Geary) has a gambling addiction that has placed him in dire peril with the wrong sort of person, not who you would want to cross for non-payment of debts, but here he is, he borrowed tens of thousands of dollars to participate in a charity casino held in the grounds of a mansion house, and all because he thought he had devised a foolproof method of cheating the tables. That method proved to be anything but foolproof, and he has been landed with no cash to pay back gangster Miguel (Tony Plana), so how about they reach a compromise? Winslow will bump off his wealthy and elderly uncle Albert Dennison (Ralph Bellamy) and split the money with the hood - now all he needs is to choose the world's worst orderlies to look after him.

The Fat Boys, an American rap trio who promoted a fun time in their music rather than the more politically aware material that some of their contemporaries did, had appeared in a couple of movies before Disorderlies, but this was their chance to shine as bona fide movie stars. Well, that was the idea, and director Michael Schultz was recruited to put them through their paces, a man with experience of throwaway flicks, ephemera that was never supposed to last after the box office takings were in, never mind decades into the future. This certainly looked as if it was not intended to be anything to be remembered down history, more akin to a vintage B-movie comedy of half a century before somehow updated to the nineteen-eighties.

The sense of humour was largely the same, a slobs versus snobs jape which relied over-heavily on the thespian talents of the central trio, talents that were largely non-existent. Bizarrely, Schultz resisted having them do what they were best at, which was rapping, and only placed one musical number in the whole movie, you had to wait almost an hour for it, so their fans would have to be entirely satisfied with some very lowest common denominator jokes over anything more musical. You might have anticipated a rap musical, especially with this pedigree, but that was not what was on offer, it was ill-advisedly concentrating on getting the stars to deliver dialogue and fall over in what it hoped against hope were amusing ways.

Even though the production came across as amateur hour and a half, there were professionals involved who failed to lift the rappers to the very basic level of the material. Ralph Bellamy, who was awarded an honorary Oscar the same year this was released, was landed with the old geezer role, initially appalled that these inept men were asked to look after his needs (which seem to be entirely consisting of pushing his wheelchair and giving him his medication - there were no gags about wiping his bottom or anything like that), then warming to them when they give him the best time he has had in years, chiefly by bringing him to a roller rink and introducing him to nubile young ladies the age of Bellamy's grandchildren (or even great-grandchildren - he and the twentieth century had reached their eighties).

Despite the drawbacks of focusing on non-actors to carry your movie, against the odds Disorderlies was stupid enough to generate a few chuckles because of how little faith this had in its leading men. Get them to eat a lot of cake or pizza, fall in a swimming pool, and bump into each other and you had the measure of the humour, with their sheer lack of guile, or indeed accomplishment, rendering them likeable enough without actively being offensive. If you had no idea which Fat Boy was which before watching, then you may still have that problem identifying them once the end credits rolled, and if you had not been familiar with their music then you had a vague idea from most of this, the most impressive member being the self-styled "Human Beat Box" Darren Robinson who did precisely what his nickname indicated, and died tragically young at twenty-eight less than ten years after this was made. Mostly this was a cheap cash in of the sort that had been popular in Hollywood for ages; somehow it was distributed by a major studio, but you knew what you had in store.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Michael Schultz  (1938 - )

American director, from the theatre, of largely disposable entertainment, including Cooley High, Car Wash, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Greased Lightning, Scavenger Hunt, Krush Groove, The Last Dragon and Disorderlies. Notable as one of the first black mainstream directors, after some TV in the seventies (The Rockford Files, Starsky and Hutch) he concentrated on television full time from the late eighties onwards.

 
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