Scouts Honor: Badge to the Bone isn’t the worst film ever made — not by a long shot — but there’s something in particular about serially mirthless comedies that temporarily irradiates any working recollection of what arguably may be more technically inept and woefully misguided cinematic efforts, and this broad, broad affair falls into that former category. And so while watching it, the movie just feels like it might be that terrible.
Written by Jesse Bryan and David Schultz, who also each costar, Scouts Honor centers on two dimwitted camp counselor brothers, David and Tim Appleorchard (Schultz and BJ Bales), who must circumvent the evil machinations of fellow brother Brandon (Chris Kattan) in order to win the approval of their father (Kip King, Kattan’s real-life dad) and inherit the camp from him at the end of the summer, when he leaves to rejoin his wife/their mother with a traveling circus. Because, God bless him (and I know this from fairly close personal experience), Fred Willard will show up for scale on any job, and read expository asides or fulfill whatever perfunctory wonky cameo needs your production might have, well… Fred Willard shows up and reads a bunch of discretely shot announcements over a P.A. system, goading the brothers Appleorchard into action. Physical contests of strength and endurance ensue, along with parallel love interests for the hapless chaps.
PR press clippings for Scouts Honor try to position it, in tongue-in-cheek fashion, as a willfully, knowingly moronic comedy, something so “insane,” “wacky” and gleefully dumb that it somehow circles all the way back around again to all-out funny. It doesn’t, honestly. Nowhere close. This is a series of bad sketch comedy scenes, strung together loosely into a narrative.
Look, I don’t mind dumb comedy, I really don’t. But this movie never rises to, let alone past, the level of improv comedy you and your buddies mustered when making middle Super 8 videos. It’s just pointless, and made worse by the retread-quality nature of the narrative proper. Chris Kattan is actually capable of good work, but here he trades only in volume, and it grates mightily roughly 25 seconds into the proceedings. Granted, Kattan is given nothing of substance with which to work, but he’s playing such a screaming jackass that when the film, at its merciful conclusion, refuses even to give him some sort of shaming comeuppance, it makes you a bit angry, in addition to just being bored and pissed off.
I’m racking my brain here, but apart from chapter selections and a motion-enabled menu, I don’t believe there are any supplemental features to the DVD release. I can’t recall with 100% clarity though, because the pitch of Kattan’s histrionics are clouding my brain and impairing my memory. Nonetheless, if you still wish to inflict this travesty upon yourself, Scouts Honor may be purchased through Amazon by clicking here. F (Movie) D- (Disc)