I’m of two minds when it comes to the shtick of one Dan Whitney, AKA Larry the Cable Guy. On one hand, I’ve heard his excruciatingly obvious and pandering Larry the Cable Guy standup material, and there’s really nothing even close to defensible about it. On the other hand, I think that the man behind the character actually has some potential as he was my favorite part of Cars, and I take that film as proof positive that he can actually do good Southern character humor miles beyond his signature persona. It’s unlikely he’ll personally write material that good, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be that good.
I lead with that caveat because it explains why I don’t fully reject the notion of yet another film vehicle for him on its face. Granted, the evidence to do is overwhelming considering that the existence of the nonsensically-titled Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector and his upcoming Iraq War-inspired laugher Delta Farce (groan). But increasingly, his films rope in a weird blend of has-beens who would otherwise never get a shot at a theatrically-released film (e.g. Thomas F. Wilson, DJ Qualls) and genuinely talented current actors who just want the work (e.g. Tony Hale, CHUD-friend Glenn Morshower). And I truly believe that someday, somehow he’ll get attached to something else with a decent pedigree.
Granted, Witless Protection (Seriously, the fuck on these titles?) probably won’t be that film. It’s the latest vehicle from Whitney’s pact with Lionsgate. He plays a small-town sheriff who rescues a woman who he thinks been kidnapped, when in fact, she’s a witness due to testify in a big trial. The twist, however, is that he is actually inadvertently rescuing her from her crooked FBI escorts who plan to kill her before she makes it to court. Although I doubt he’ll be portraying the actual Larry character, Whitney will no doubt evoke him as he bumbles about onscreen. This particular outing surrounds him with the powerhouse ensemble of Eric Roberts, Yaphet Kotto, Peter Stormare, Joe Mantegna, and Ivana Milicevic. And if that’s not enough to get your ticket pre-order, it’s written and directed by the guy who wrote Blind Fury.
It’s a quandary, I say. I don’t want to subsidize more Larry the Cable Guy material. But who could hate on somebody giving hope (and rent money) to the detritus of the industry the way this guy does? Damn you, Dan Whitney for making me choose. Damn you to hell.