Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

‘National Lampoon Presents’, as I have said before, used to mean something of some significance. Now more times than not it only stands for ‘This unbearable garbage you are about to watch is called…’. I mean I seriously question whomever is in control of the National Lampoon brand even watches a lot of these movies they tack their name onto. So’s when I put in the DVD for this movie ‘Bag Boy’ and the moniker ‘National Lampoon Presents’ pops up I almost hit the eject button because even though I watch a lot of really, really bad Straight to Video movies, even I have my limits. But then you see that this film has a halfway decent cast and though the concept is incredibly silly, it is a comedy after all, and lord knows I love to laugh, so I decided to let it play out and hope for the best.

Clyde ‘The Windmill’ Wynorski (Robert Hoffman) is the very best at what he does. What does he do exactly? He’s a professional grocery bagger. Now to interrupt for a moment, one thing that you’re going to have to recognize early on to get any enjoyment out of this movie is that they play the whole Professional Bagging thing straight. It’s not part of the joke. In this universe Professional Bagging is as important as soccer is to Brazilians… or anybody on the planet outside of the United States for that matter. Anyway, Windmill handles groceries just like Tom Cruise was handling those liquor bottles in ‘Cocktail’.

Across town at a little rundown supermarket is Phil Piedmonstein (Paul Campbell) who has a few bagging skills his own damn self, though he sometimes loses focus. Despite the fact that Phil’s little supermarket is a bit rundown and is operated by their drunken owner Marty (the great Dennis Farina), there’s still a lotta love in that place between Phil and his best friend Ace the pothead (Nick Lashaway), Alonzo the Black guy who desires to be a gangster rapper (Wesley Jonathan) and the mentally challenged Freddy (Josh Dean) who apparently followed Nick Lazarus’ advice from ‘Tropic Thunder’ and deftly avoids going ‘Full Retard’. Love is also on the horizon for Phil as

Marty has just hired the crazy hot Bambi played by Markia Dominczyk, who I think might weigh all of 105 pounds, but allow me to tell you every single one of those pounds have been maximized for effect and strategically placed in all the correct locations.

The problem is that drunken Marty was a championship bagger at one time himself in his youth and sees trouble ahead for young Phil so he fires him. Marty’s employees, particularly Bambi, are none too happy about this and urge Marty to train Phil instead of crapping on him which Marty agrees to do, partly do get back at his old manager and fellow Supermarket owner Pike (Larry Miller), who is also the handler for The Windmill. It’s a long tough road as the pair hit all the tournaments with lots of success, though their journey is filled with heartbreak, revelations and surprises, but it all leads up to the nationals where Phil can finally prove that he’s actually worth something and Marty can finally find redemption.  Through competative bagging.

Wesley Jonathan is in this movie. Wesley Jonathan, at least as of this writing, is currently dating actress Denise Lawton who could very well be the hottest woman in the history of the freaking planet earth. Does this have anything to do with this movie? Of course it doesn’t, just letting Wesley Jonathan know that he’s my freakin’ hero even more so than Nick Cannon. Also, again having nothing do with the movie, we must assume that actor Larry Miller is an asshole in real life since this all they allow may man to play. But about ‘Bag Boy’, and let be among the first to tell you that it was actually pretty funny. I do recognize that part of this could be in part because my expectations were so ridiculously low, but low expectations aside there were parts of this movie that were genuinely funny. Take Turducken for instance, which I would have sworn was something the genius screenwriters of this movie dreamed up only to learn that Turducken in actually a real dish eaten by real people. Turducken. Microsoft Word doesn’t think that Turducken is a real dish, but it is. As I said earlier, they play the whole competitive bagging thing straight, complete with a competitive bagging hall of fame, and since they play it straight and the professional bagging thing isn’t a joke in the movie, it effectively keeps the flick from becoming a One-Joke movie and forced the writers to find other avenues for humor and on more than one occasion they were able hit their mark. Paul Campbell, fresh off of getting blasted off ‘Battlestar Gallactica’ gives a very quiet an unassuming performance as Phil the lovable loser, and we even have a Brooke Shields sighting who has devolved into playing hot moms. Plus Dennis Farina was in this movie, a man who has the innate ability, much like my main man Armand Assante, to take his core character and inject it into whatever genre of movie he happens to be in and manage to be effective in said film in the process.

‘Bag Boy’ isn’t a great movie by any stretch as it a sports movie about competitive bagging for goodness sakes. Not all of the jokes work, the movie is probably ten minutes to long, Brooke Shields is still hot but she is more ‘Suddenly Susan’ funny than madcap hijink funny, but this was a ‘National Lampoon Presents’ movie that I watched without having to enter the fetal position. Can’t be too mad at that.

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