Tim Allen usually knows how to pick his movies. Sure, Jungle to Jungle and The Santa Claus weren't the greatest pictures on the world, but they were still funny enough to hold an audience. His latest film, Galaxy Quest, was one of the best comedies of 1999. But his 1997 film with Kirstie Alley For Richer or Poorer leaves little to be desired for.
Tim Allen plays a similar character to the ones in his other films, but that's okay since he plays them so well. Much like Jungle to Jungle, he is thrust into a new world where his business skills go out the window and he is forced to improvise. Unfortunately, in For Richer or Poorer, his character, along with everyone else's, is dragged down by a horrible script, a horrible plot, and just about everything else you can think of.
Kirstie Alley, Allen's co-star, should be likeable, but it isn't. She spends the whole movie whining and acting like a complete idiot; she's trying to pose as an Amish women yet she can't go for more than a couple minutes without complaining about some novelty like using the telephone (they cover up their act by saying they are from a more liberal Amish community). She's a bitch at times yet in the end, of course, Allen and Alley end up back together, for some reason or another. Allen's character is so nice and charming and her's is... just not.
Pretty much, all the comedy seems to be based around Alley's complaining, which gets real old real fast. For Richer or Poorer also takes some liberties in some slapstick action, like having Allen light a judge's gown on fire, or getting pulled along behind a horse. That's a winner. The movie also prides itself on having the stupidest Federal Agents possible. Comedy was the goal here but it just ends up making this movie even more believable; the agents overhear one word, automatically assume that Allen is fleeing, shoot at him, and so forth, and then, for the rest of the movie, we get to watch the Agents carelessly pursue the main characters. It's just dumb.
The other thing that gets annoying real fast is how much For Richer or Poorer mocks the Amish. Sure, they're never going to watch the movie since they don't live with technology, so why not just slap together a horrible rendition of Amish life, equipped with all the cheesy stereotypes. It really gets annoying just how horribly the movie treats the Amish, not directly but definitely indirectly. Some of them are idiots, a lot of them are just foolish, and I've never seen so many fake beards at one time. Further more, to support my evidence, Allen's first reaction to seeing them is: "Hello, I come in peace." Maybe if the movie had spoofed the Amish effectively it might have worked out, but, instead, we don't see one realistic thing about them. Alley even introduces the culture to colored clothing.
In part because the movie is just so stupid, and in another because the main characters are even stupider, For Richer or Poorer is one of the worst comedies I've seen in a long time. It just drags on and on with tidbits of funny events, and just when you think you've seen enough the script delves even lower. For Richer or Poorer? I know the answer.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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