Seriously, if anyone asks for the "perfect cheer" one more time, Judge David Johnson is going to snap.
The diminutive red-headed spitfire that had dominated the mid-90s Saturday Night Live telecasts along with Will Ferrell for so long has finally scored her own "Best Of" DVD. Cheri Oteri (that name just fits her doesn't it?) has returned with a batch of skits featuring characters she was best known for. In fact, I'm scratching my brain trying to think of another not-ready-for-prime-time-player who had as many recurring characters as she did. Eddie Murphy? Dana Carvey? Mike Myers? Maybe. Point is, this girl kept busy and there was certainly plenty of grist to sift through to slap on this 78-minute tribute.
So how come I didn't laugh a lot? I think Oteri is funny, and downright hilarious in some sketches (though I always found Molly Shannon funnier), but by and large, her sketches never got me going. For instance, after the first Spartans cheerleaders episode aired, I had had enough. Then came another one. And another. And another. Ad infinitum these sketches would march out, and by the 134,356th installment I was ready to hacksaw my ears off the next time one of idiot college roommates shouted that it was time "For the perfect cheer!!!" Accchhh. Oh, and ditto Rita Del Vecchio, the Catholic Italian mom who continually taunted the neighborhood kids. A one-joke wonder, where only profanity would garner a laugh or two.
Both of those characters are present and accounted for, as well as Judge Judy, Barbara Walters, Nadeen and Collette Reardon (the druggie). Plus you get Debbie Reynolds and Oteri's misunderstood, horny wife to Chris Kattan's misunderstood, horny husband. If you're an Oteri fan, all of the character you adore can be found on this set.
And putting aside my disdain for the cheerleaders and Mrs. Del Vecchio, I will readily admit that there is funny stuff aboard. My favorite Cheri Oteri skit of all time, in fact, is on this disc: Adele, the officer worker with no concept of the subtleties of sexual innuendo. If you don't remember, she wanders around an office break room, flirting with her male coworkers, and then graphically spelling out what she was implying. Excellent stuff! Likewise her early morning talk show spoof with Will Ferrell—those sketches tended to meander, but she and Will were able to score some big laughs from time to time.
It's that meandering that ultimately kept me in not-so-jolly spirits. These were the years when the writers didn't know when to trim the sketches, and they would go on and on and on. Take "Simma Down!" That was a funny bit for about three minutes or so, but the sketch included here—with Toby Maguire—did not end. Conversely, a montage of Barbara Walter segments were inserted about halfway through and those were great. With Oteri, maybe it's all about the brevity.
Still, the girl's got spunk and was just flush with talent and energy. While I didn't find the entire disc crammed with hilarity, I can't recall any of these "Best Of" discs that have been perfect either. It's hit and miss for me, but I'll give the lady her due: when Oteri hits it, she hits it out of the ballpark.
Full frame original aspect ratio and a 2.0 stereo treatment are par for the course for these DVDs. Extras include Cheri's eight minute audition for SNL, a dress sketch, a photo gallery, an appearance on Conan O'brien's show, and an entertaining commentary with Oteri herself.
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• Cheri Oteri Commentary
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