Nature Calls – 3 out of 5
Okay…so this movie is about some scouts that are not affiliated with but bare a non-copyright infringement likeness to the Boy Scouts. It would be easy to make a bunch of jokes about how the Boy Scouts don’t allow homosexuals into their organization but I’m above that. After all, they’re all about upholding strong Christian values…values like excluding and denying rights to homosexuals. It’s a bold move for an organization known for wearing ascots.
|"Does everyone have their neckerchiefs? Make sure to bring backups."|
Nature Calls is about a pack of scouts lead by Randy (Patton Oswalt) who sees his entire pack back out of a camping trip to party at his brother’s (Johnny Knoxville) house because he’s having a party for his adopted son. Undeterred, Randy crashes the party and convinces all the kids to join him on the camping trip and he, essentially, kidnaps all the children and absconds with them to the woods in order to teach them how to be men (and that line sounds a lot creepier than it actually played out in the film). Randy’s brother quickly teams with his friend Gentry (Rob Riggle) and another concerned father (in his last role Patrice O’Neal) quickly seek out to find the kids.
|No joke here. We lost a funny, funny man.|
Nature Calls is one of those comedies that never does anything truly wrong but never really gets everything 100% right either. On paper, the movie seems like it has the makings to be a potentially great comedy but it never really achieves that promise.
|"Hi, I'm Johnny Knoxville and I just suffered 3rd degree burns to the face...please|
take me to the emergency room."
Patton Oswalt feels like he’s never fully utilized to his potential as the scout master Randy when it concerns his comedic and acting talent. Knoxville actually is quite good as the straight-man of the film as Randy’s brother Kirk and shows that he’s comes a long way from his days in Jackass and actually has some acting chops. Former SNL-cast member Darrell Hammond even shows up as an amusing park ranger in the film however all the film's amusing moments are not very strong or numerous in the film.
|I'm not being mean here, Hammond, but I thought you were abducted by aliens.|
The film is, at times, funny but never uproariously so. Despite the comedy power this film has very few of the stars are successful in making the weak jokes in the script work. Even with Oswalt terrific acting and Patrice O’Neal’s already established comedic prowess neither man is capable of really bringing anything of laughable note to the film’s running time. In fact, the only time I really had a hearty laugh was from Rob Riggle’s many ridiculous moments.
|Ridiculous moments like those sunglasses...damn those are ridiculous!|
|Knoxville is getting that "if it wasn't for those meddlin' teenagers"|
look in his eyes.