By: Addison Wylie
Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant is a vehicle made for Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). The leading role, however, has been given to Royal Pains’ Mark Feuerstein, who commits to the dopey womanizing role but is far too driven to drill in each punchline. In Feuerstein’s defence, the actor is only following Sam Friedlander’s untamed filmmaking.
The film deals with a lead character who is unfamiliar to his arrogance because he’s too busy being a know-it-all in his field of work. However, it’s very clear Larry Gaye is a buffoon outside of his airline, yet those who see his stupidity can also see that his flight attendant skills are masterful. Gaye responds to the appreciation with gratefulness – this is the correct answer for Friedlander’s movie. This is essentially what Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 got wrong.
It’s too bad Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant has been packaged as a sexually-fixated R-rated comedy. If Friedlander and Mike Sikowitz’s script are only interested in cheap gags, why not tone down the innuendos and broaden the film’s audience? Besides, the grosser jokes are so far and few between, you wouldn’t even miss them.
The movie exists in a very goofy universe. If it was any sillier, Larry Gaye would be animated and clubbing pilots with an ACME mallet. The story slightly borrows from a Simpsons episode where a young Marge discovers her father is a steward, but Sikowitz also faintly focuses on a separate, undercooked cyborg threat. Robotic stewardesses are invented by a hot shot, and their perfected performance compromises the future of Gaye’s career. Concerned and frazzled, the flight attendant union pleads for Larry to put a stop to this change.
Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant needs a main focus rather than balancing multiple wobbly plots in a half-assed manner. One minute, Larry is learning how to bond with his illegitimate son, and then suddenly, he’s competing with a fembot stewardess (played by Rebecca Romijn). It’s a messy movie in need of a solid backbone.
The material that works has Larry Gaye in his in-flight element. A certain call-back involving flight attendants giving passengers meal options is hilarious. And, as cheap as they are, some of those sight gags are really funny and honour Zucker Brothers slapstick.
Fleeting roles are played by known celebrities – I don’t really know why. Some have nice pay offs (Patrick Warburton and Ian Gomez are comical as cocky pilots, and Jason Alexander is a hoot as a disloyal father), and other roles feel as if the actors are paying back favours (Molly Shannon, Stanley Tucci, Taye Diggs).
By the closing musical number, we completely realize Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant was only interested in lowbrow laughs. Sam Friedlander may catch movie goers snickering from time to time, but he doesn’t realize how high his comedy could’ve flown.