By Nick Nunziata
November 24, 1998

I was looking for a reason to see this film, since Luke Wilson and Jake Busey were in it. Fortunately, it looked like a chick flick to my wife, so we caught it.

Home Fries

Directed by Dean (Feature debut, veteran TV director) Parisot

Starring Drew (Mad Love, E.T.) Barrymore, Luke (Bottle Rocket, Scream 2) Wilson, Jake (Starship Troopers, The Frighteners) Busey, Catherine (Beetlejuice, Waiting For Guffman) O’Hara, Shelly (Popeye, The Shining) Duvall

I had read the plot for this film (written by “X-Files” regular Vince Gilligan) and wondered how on Earth it got greenlighted. A pregnant girl (Barrymore, in nice girl mode) hears the demise of the father of her child ( a married man who will not leave his wife) over the headphones from her job at the drive thru of a burger joint. Actually she hears the radio transmissions of two National Guardsmen (Busey and Wilson) trying to scare the man (their stepfather) for cheating on their mom. They succeed to the point of causing a fatal heart attack. In an effort to keep the only witness from spilling the beans, they try to get close to her to shut her up. A romance develops between the pregnant fast fooder and the slightly guilty helicopter pilot.

Well, it’s original, and I think it has the potential to become a smaller cult classic because of how askew things are. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously but it doesn’t play too hard for laughs either. It’ll leave more than a few people scratching their heads. The fact that these people all exist in this little universe together (from the warped leads to O’Hara’s crazy momma to the eclectic group of fast food workers and clients) is worth a chuckle or two.

I found myself laughing out loud as Wilson donned a superhero costume to promote the eatery and fight crime, or when Barrymore explained to her lover his real intentions for driving her home, or the Lamaze teacher’s bizarre mottos. It’s a cute little film.

The leads are quite good, especially Wilson who has mastered the art of being quizzical and vacant thanks to “Bottle Rocket” (a cult classic in its own right). He is a member of the youth brigade in Hollywood (Peter Berg, Jon Favreau, Ed Burns, and Luke’s bent nosed, bleach blond brother Owen) who write and act with success. Barrymore is as likable as I’ve seen her, but she doesn’t do anything for me. She does a good job of playing the small town girl, though. Jake Busey is so fun to watch, just like his dad Gary, and he actually gets to play more than the bully in this even though he is a bit twisted.

It’s a fun little movie which doesn’t run on all cylinders, but if you dig a weird movie that won’t leave a mark but entertain, you could do a lot worse than this appetizer.

6.9 out of 10