The US manufactures a new Cold War with unoffending neighbour, Canada, and witless Niagara Falls sheriff Bud B. Boomer is caught in the middle.
Unfortunately for fans of the late John Candy, this posthumous release of his penultimate movie only serves to reduce the impact the actor had on recent celluloid comedy. But while this erratic tale is an improvement on the shoddy Wagons East (his final outing), it merely serves as a footnote to his tragically short career, leaving us to love him best for Planes Trains And Automobiles and Splash.
This first fictional film from Moore, acclaimed political firebrand and filmmaker behind Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling For Columbine, is a madcap yarn based on the notion of America declaring war on Canada to boost arms sales. A bearded Candy plays Bud B. Boomer, sheriff of Niagara Falls, who patrols his territory with the tenacity of a pit bull and the intelligence of an over-enthusiastic Labrador pup. The ensuing farce has just enough laughs to keep the action rolling along with an amusing bunch of characters played by the likes of Alan Alda, James Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Rhea Perlman as Candy's rough-and-ready gun-toting deputy.
Americans, it seems, treat Canadians with the same reverence that the English hold for the Welsh, and thus many wearisome jokes are aimed at the Canucks (clean living, crap beer, Neil Young, etc.) and ultimately the film hovers only midway on the chuckle-ometer, carried by the redoubtable comic skills of its leading man and the script's light, farcical spills. In all, this mildly pleasing effort is symptomatic of the great comedian's fluctuating career: he is really funny in an only sparingly amusing and sadly rather forgettable movie.
While the jokes labour to make any kind of impact, there is a sharp edge to Moore's ideas - how this bonkers administration ignores the threat of terrorism, attacking an innocent country out of the need to keep the weapons companies sweet. And this was 1995!