Synopsis: Dysfunctional upper-middle class family benefits enormously when loveable criminal shows up on their doorstep….sorry, that’s the Synopsis for The Ref. Hmm…. Mobsters chase glib goofball to recover a surprisingly small debt….no, that’s We’re Talking Serious Money. Ok… Sinbad… Phil Hartman…mayhem in the suburbs…hey, it’s Jingle All the Way without Ahhnold.
Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “They’re just your average everyday uptight family… until the day he shows up!”
What Did I Learn?: A puree of parsnips and crook-neck squash does NOT taste like nacho cheese.
You Might Like This Movie If: You're convinced that Phil Hartman + Sinbad = comedic gold. [Wow, this song is bad]
Really?: So, wait – the Gasperinis follow Kevin all over rural Pennsylvania to collect the princely sum of $5,000? 2) Holy shit, did McDonald’s front the cash for this film’s production budget? 3) Strange how Kevin clearly knows nothing about dentistry, wine, golf, and a number of other subjects, and whenever anyone challenges him his only strategy is to get angry and viciously ridicule his challenger – and it somehow works every time. 4) Gary (Hartman) finally gets to meet the real Derek Bond - his childhood summer camp buddy - and… they barely exchange a word. I guess the writers couldn’t think of any worthwhile dialogue.
Rating: Houseguest is just plain awful, which is strange because I somehow remember it being a lot funnier; perhaps I was drunk at the time? Sinbad does his best with the material, but it’s incredibly contrived, juvenile and clichéd; meanwhile, the legendary Hartman is wasted in a straight-man role and looks as though he’s sleepwalking through an overly-long SNL sketch. I cannot recommend this movie. 4/10 stars.
Would it Work for a Bad Movie Night?: Sure – take a drink any time Kevin expresses his love for the golden arches.