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What the Hell Were They Thinking?!

Movie Rating:

Leonard Part 6Leonard Parker (Bill Cosby) is a retired spy who’s now living his post-CIA life as a restaurateur. But, as you should be able to see coming from a mile away, CIA Director Nick Snyderburn (Joe Don Baker) drags him out of the retired life and back into the game for one more mission: Save the world from an evil vegetarian, Medusa Johnson (Gloria Foster), who has brainwashed animals to kill people.

I recommend lighting up the fattest blunt you can find before pressing play.

You’re probably wondering about Leonard Part 1-5. How can a film possibly start at Part 6? The film’s excuse, by way of Leonard butler and film narrator Frayn, is that the previous five “missions” have been locked away as a matter of national security.

See, even the film itself realizes how hazardous it is to moviegoers.

My guess is Bill Cosby, who at the time was one of the biggest stars on TV with his series The Cosby Show, figured diminishing franchise returns for this crap-tastic bomb would begin at awful and only get worse from there, so it’d be better to just start off with the sixth film.

Turns out that’s not all that far from the truth. Well, not the reason for making a “fifth sequel” without the previous five films; that I honestly can’t explain, but Cosby’s contempt for this film just prior to its release was well publicized, with him even going as far as telling moviegoers to not waste their time and money on seeing the film.

Yes, Leonard Part 6’s biggest hater was its star, producer and story creator. This man was Fantastic Four’s Josh Trank before Trank could even spell out “Fuck you, 20th Century Fox!!”

Normally, I’m against stars and filmmakers coming out and publicly slamming their film, as if it’s their way of washing their hands clean of the stink they created. You dealt it and smelt it, so own up to the stink. Still, it’s not hard to see why Cosby would be as absolutely detested by the sight of this film as much as, if we’re counting, Cosby’s 50 rape accusers are of him. The film gives new meaning to words like “nonsensical” and “amateurish”, and going by the dopey villainous vegetarian theme, was probably the biggest inspiration for Claudio Fragasso’s Troll 2. If the toddler scribblings being passed off as the opening credits doesn’t clue you in to the shit-heap you’re about to plunge head first into, the following sequence of random, inexplicably connected opening shots should…

  • Leonard driving a camouflaged car.
  • Leonard dressed in a spacesuit and dancing like a ballerina (complete with an enemy army of dancing bird-men).
  • Leonard riding off a building on an ostrich.

Did any of that make any sense to you? It sure didn’t to me and I’m sure even Plato would find himself scratching his head going, “Beats the fuck out of me.” No matter how hard the film tries, it only makes less and less sense as the film attempts to bend down and squat out a story.

What does make sense here? Coke. Lots of Coca-Cola and lots of Alka-Seltzer. Coca-Cola here. Alka-Seltzer there. Fridges full of Coke. Cans of Coke prominently displayed, shoved right in front of our viewing faces as if it’s dying to shout out to the world, “I am Coke! Hear my fizzy carbonated self roar!” Let’s throw in some Palmolive too while we’re at it ’cause you can never have enough product placement. Why? ‘Cause what studio backed this film? That would be Columbia Pictures. Who owned Columbia Pictures at the time? I’m gonna take a wild shot in the dark here and say Coca-Cola. So it’s no surprise that they pimp the hell out of their hit beverage.

Spoofs are generally considered by many critics to be “critic proof”, but this film goes above and beyond in pushing the limits there. Even by spoof standards, Leonard Part 6 doesn’t make a lick of sense. Even the most absurd jokes in the best spoofs – Airplane!, Top Secret!, The Naked Gun, Hot Shots – had some sort of rhyme and reason to them. What made a joke like Barbara Billingsley speaking jive to two black passengers funny was the idea of one of America’s most iconic TV housewives from the ’50s talking like she was one of the brothas. Absurd? Yes, but you got the point. While I admire this film for bringing to light the fact that rainbow trout can bark like dogs and read Playboy, I’m not quite sure how it makes sense beyond Cosby and writer Jonathan Reynolds thinking that it’d be hilarious if they had crazy fish that could bark and be attracted by the sight of Hugh Hefner’s naked gals.

What I am sure of is that Cosby and Reynolds were clearly targeting an audience just as totally baked as the film’s humor, which leans heavily on the crutch of “When in doubt…” What is “When in doubt…”? It’s a tactic used by shitty comedies that can’t come up with anything genuinely clever or even just borderline funny, so when in doubt… kick someone in the balls. When in doubt… have someone fart. When in doubt… poop joke. In this film’s case, when in doubt… just throw some food on top of Cosby’s head while he does the goofy eye roll and “A-ho-ho-ho-ho… jello puddin’ pops, Ruuuudy!!!!

The shame here is that Cosby’s is clearly able to create some fall-down funny jokes. Regardless of what you may think of him nowadays, he’s still one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all-time, his TV show was deservedly a hit and even though his overall feature film career isn’t one to be desired, he has done a few fine efforts with Sidney Poitier back in the ’70s that prove he isn’t entirely incapable of putting together a decent film. That doesn’t guarantee this film being a hit, of course, but it’s still quite shocking as to how basement-level inept Cosby’s humor is here.

If anything, the film does kinda get a little bit of a humor boost thanks to Bill’s current legal situation. Hindsight’s funny like that. See, wholesome, father of the year, Cliff Huxtable era Bill Cosby begging to get some from his ex-wife isn’t funny. It’s quite sad actually. Post old man, rapey Bill Cosby begging his ex-wife for a little somethin’ somethin’ or not appearing to be all that bothered by the sight of his daughter stripping down to her birthday suit in front of a live viewing audience – now that’s hilarious.

For all the wrong reasons.

Leonard Part 6 is disastrously unfunny, nonsensical and indisputable proof that having an acclaimed stand-up/sitcom career will not automatically translate to the big screen. It’s not just an insult to the spoofs, it’s bastardized, toxic trash that upsets and tarnishes the entire field of comedy, cinema in general, law-abiding societies and the natural order of our great and ever-expanding universe. That it comes from one of the funniest comics of the past 50 years, yet the only laughs he can squeeze out of me are from all the hindsight, after-the-fact rapey vibes that occur throughout this flick makes it an even sadder excuse of a film.

Review source: http://silverscreenfanatic.com/2016/02/08/what-the-hell-were-they-thinking-110/

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I’m originally from the Orlando-Sanford area in Florida. Moved up to Michigan as a kid and to this day, as Stevie Ray Vaughan once said, “Couldn’t stand the weather.”