McHale’s Navy is yet another recycled sitcom turned feature film, and is about as appealing as a failed television pilot. Tom Arnold portrays Quentin McHale, a now retired Naval officer who makes a living providing contraband goods to the local naval base. He lives alone on a island full of barnyard animals and gadgets, seeming like some bizarre cross between Pee Wee Herman and Robinson Crusoe. However, two new arrivals are about to change his life. The naval base, formerly a haven for fun loving freeloaders, is now under the command of a new captain (Dean Stockwell), who wants to straighten up the base. And a consortium of worldwide evildoers has hired the world’s second best terrorist (Tim Curry) to set up a secret missile base on a nearby island. Naturally, Tim Curry harbors a grudge against his old rival McHale, and hopes to settle the score before conquering the world. The decision to make McHale’s Navy an action-comedy, rather than a standard comedy, was a poor one. The best action-comedies, are action films first, with a sense of humor. McHale’s Navy is at its heart a comedy, albeit a rather bad one, and the action scenes seem superfluous. The comedy in McHale’s Navy is simply pathetic, as if any film starring Tom Arnold wasn’t warning enough. Director Brian Spicer needed to reign in some of his actors: Dean Stockwell plays each scene as if he just inhaled a baloon of helium, Tim Curry battles yet another ambivalous accent, and David Alan Grier just plain overacts. The plot is inconsistent and, at times, incoherent. Manufactured plot points appear out of nowhere and disappear without a trace. But, heck, you can’t go into a film like McHale’s Navy expecting a plot. The film’s few comic moments come from the crew (including French Stewart and Bruce Campbell), but there’s nothing there that can lift up the film. The tacked-on action scenes aren’t bad, but they add nothing to the film, which sure could have used something to make it worth watching.
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