Rat Race doesn’t go very far

If you haven?t seen Rat Race yet, don?t worry, you?re not missing much. While the not-so-new comedy does prove that some good performances and a few funny scenes can go far, they do not go far enough.

While most of the comedic moments come from Jon Lovitz and Cuba Gooding Jr., as part of a cast that could offer so much more, when the jokes do hit, they hit dead on. But for the most part, Rat Race is as disappointing as that ill-fated trip to Disney World on the most popular day of the year ? you wait all day in line just for a three-minute ride.

Whoopi Goldberg, Rowan Atkinson and John Cleese headline an all-star cast that, unfortunately for the audience, doesn?t quite jell.

Cleese is a casino owner that plays host to a dozen different financiers from around the world who appear to have nothing mature to do with their time. They bet on everything from how much a call girl charges for acting out a weird sexual fantasy to which nitwit will win a race to a $2 million bag of cash. And that?s where America?s favorite clowns come in and play ordinary people in crazy situations.

Lovitz and Kathy Najimy play Randy and Bev Pear, a married couple on their first family vacation with their two whiny children. Gooding Jr. is Owen, an NFL referee that blew a coin toss call on live TV the week before ? a joke cleverly repeated throughout. Breckin Meyer and Amy Smart are Nick and Tracy, two people that come together during the race. Goldberg plays Vera, a middle-age, giddy woman who reunites with her long-lost daughter. Atkinson is a clueless foreigner who spends the movie bumbling through scenarios that aren?t as funny as they are long. Seth Green gets in trouble as a con man bent on doing the most inane stunts just to try and scam the race.

And there you have it ? a cast of usually funny actors playing stupid people trying to win a race. Along the way, they manage to piss off Hitler enthusiasts, Lucy Ball impersonators and least of all things, a cow.

If there is one thing that can be said for this film, it sure does have some crazy scenarios. In one scene, Atkinson and Wayne Knight are travelling in a medical van carrying a human heart. It doesn?t take too much imagination to figure out what happens next. The only problem is you are waiting throughout the idiotic action to laugh but because it drags on so long, all the comedy is depleted.

Although the film fell into the trap of showing all the funny parts in the preview, some of the gags still come out fresh. Whoopi?s scene where she drives off a cliff after not buying one of Kathy Bates? squirrels is quite humorous when viewed in its entirety. But if you?re the type of optimist that always convinces yourself that the hilarious moments shown in the preview are only a sampling of the full-length version, you?ll be sorely disappointed here again.

With movies such as Rat Race, it is imperative to get the jokes right and get a lot of them crammed in. However, these movies, i.e. It?s A Mad, Mad, Mad World, Cannonball Run and any other supposed comedy revolved around a race or contest, need to be that silly, not to forget hilarious, movies that we go see. Especially in light of the past week?s events, we need to see movies that will take us away from life, rather than ones we will complain about because they didn?t do their job.

That?s not to say Rat Race didn?t come up with funny moments that did work, such as a self-deprecating Cuba Gooding Jr. joke or a Jon Lovitz unwitting impersonation of Adolf Hitler.

But when we expect to see a laugh-a-minute crazy comedy, we are disappointed when we are handed a slow-paced mediocre movie that couldn?t even resist a sappy ending.

Overall, Rat Race is as disappointing as it is a waste of time.

? RATED PG-13 ?