Monday, May 30, 2016

Run, Ronnie, Run (2002) - David Cross #15

Director: Troy Miller
Runtime: 86 minutes 

This is it people, David Cross's time to shine as a leading man.  This actually isn't the first time Cross has played the titular Ronnie Dobbs, as he was a recurring character on Cross and Odenkirk's HBO sketch series, Mr. Show (1995-1998). The sketch show origin of the character makes itself felt, as numerous brief sketches are interlaced throughout the film.  In fact, the film starts with two sketches, the first a cartoon parodying the famous "Let's All Go the Lobby" bit, where everything, including the toilets, are smiling and anthropomorphic. 

The film is then introduced by the "film valedictorian of Hollywood," who later interrupts the film.

We meet Ronnie, a southern redneck who wants to get back together with Tammy (Jill Talley), his ex-wife and the mother of his children (named Little Ronnie, Middle Ronnie, and Little Middle Ronnie).  But he ends up getting arrested on an episode of FUZZ (basically COPS), leading Tammy to reject him.  Meanwhile, struggling Hollywood producer Terry Twillstein (Bob Odenkirk) discovers that Ronnie has been arrested on FUZZ numerous times, in fact, Ronnie has a unique talent for getting arrested wherever he goes.  So Twillstein goes to Ronnie's hometown, and makes a deal with the Sheriff and soon-to-be Governor (M. C. Gainey), to release Ronnie into his custody in exchange for promising that Ronnie will never return to the state.  From here we have the rise and fall of a celebrity narrative, frequently interlaced with sketches, ranging from a scene from a Survivor parody to a music video by Cross and Odenkirk's Mr. Show R&B group, Three Times One Minus One:

As much as I enjoyed this movie, it's become a bit dated.  When this came out, reality TV as we know it was in its infancy, with only a couple competition shows (most notably Survivor, which gets parodied more than once in Run Ronnie Run) having large audiences.  The idea of an entire tv series based around one person doing stupid things was just a funny concept, as opposed to an accurate description of numerous popular programs.  A lot of content that was original in 2002 has become so overdone in the last decade and a half that it loses some of its humor.

That said, the movie is a lot of fun, especially if you're a fan of Mr. Show.  There are cameos by Jack Black and Jeff Goldblum, and appearances by all the Mr. Show regulars.  In addition to a number of actual sketches, much of the movie is structured like a sketch show, with a lot of scenes being somewhat self-contained like the new age therapy session:

So if you like good 90s sketch comedy, give Run Ronnie Run a watch.


The Cross Section:

This doesn't really apply, as this is probably the only film where Cross is the lead actor.  He plays Ronnie Dobbs for the most part, as well as brief stints as other characters (like the R & B singer in the above picture).  


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