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Case Number 06500: Small Claims Court

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Warner Bros. // 1987 // 86 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // April 1st, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge Patrick Naugle ponders whether the Fat Boys would have been more successful in films had they spelled their name with a "Ph" at the beginning and a "Z" at the end. Probably not.

Editor's Note

Our review of Disorderlies (1987), published July 1st, 2013, is also available.

The Charge

Lapping up luxury, and rapping up a storm.

The Case

August 1987 was a memorable time for me. I had a girlfriend who looked like Belinda Carlisle. We vacationed in Las Vegas, and we couldn't wait to see our favorite Brooklyn rappers, then starring in the first (and only) Fat Boys movie.

Fast forward one quarter century and change: the girlfriend stomped my heart on her way out; Vegas morphed into a garish, overpriced theme park, and amazingly, Disorderlies remains.

I say amazingly, as I clearly recall watching a film so flimsy and forgettable that I half suspected at the time that it might evaporate from the screen before the final credits had a chance to roll.

By that point, we'd endured nearly an hour and a half of painful unfunniness concerning a trio of brain donors (The Fat Boys) hired by the greedy and villainous Winslow Lowry (Anthony Geary, General Hospital) to "take care" of his elderly, bed-ridden Uncle Albert (Ralph Bellamy, The Awful Truth).

I hereby throw myself upon the court's mercy, pleading sheer mental fatigue at the notion of relating the extremely tired sequence of events transpiring over eighty-six seemingly interminable minutes (as per a nearly comatose screenplay by Mark Feldberg and Mitchell Klebanoff—the team who'd later co-write Beverly Hills Ninja). For those details, I'd suggest you check out Judge Patrick Naugle's eloquent review for a blow-by-blow account of what goes on between curtains rising and falling.

Though we are in general agreement regarding our appraisal of Disorderlies, I must quibble with my distinguished colleague's contention that "the film is crushed under the weight of the Fat Boys' personalities."

On the contrary. I believe that it's the very lack of same that doomed this once-promising group's chances of achieving big screen stardom. Rather than expanding on their unique sense of humor and poetic dexterity (borne out in a series of clever music videos), the tubby trinity—known individually as Mark (Prince Markie Dee) Morales, Damon (Kool Rock-Ski), and Darren (Buff Love, the Human Beatbox)—are reduced here to an extremely pale imitation of the Three Stooges, albeit tres nyuckleheads sporting Kangols, Adidas sneakers and Swatch watches.

Naturally, there's an abundance of cartoonish buffoon-on-buffoon violence throughout. Face slapping in tandem? Check. A frying pan to the forehead? Check. A big box (labeled "Explosives") rigged to a long fuse? Check. Stumbles? Pratfalls? Hanna-Barbera sound effects, and knockabout scrambled exits? Check, please!

Technically speaking, the differences between the previous catalog release and the current V.O.D. archive presentation (both from Warner Bros.) are very slight: The aspect ratio has gone from 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen to 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the movie's theatrical trailer has been dropped as a "bonus feature."

The picture shows some signs of age, but extremely rarely, and inconsequentially. Colors seem slightly faded, but remember, this is a relic from the '80s—the decade so bright one had to wear shades to get through it. The 1.0 mono mix is functional; no more, no less. English, Spanish, and French subtitles are optional.

Bottom line: There's nothing to see here, folks—that is, nothing you haven't seen done better elsewhere. Ironically, what these boys do best is given the shortest shrift—there's but one Fat rap number (which comes fifty minutes in), and it turns out to be nothing but a needless desecration of the Beatles' classic "Baby, You're A Rich Man."

Aaawww, hell nah!

The Verdict

Guilty, straight up. Word.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
• Comedy

Distinguishing Marks

• Theatrical Trailer


• IMDb
• Fat Boys Fan Site

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