The Wrong Guy (1997)

As someone who has strong nostalgia towards Dave Foley, mainly due to his stint as the main lead in Newsradio, this was a nice little obscure treat for me. According to Wikipedia, the script was inspired by  a sketch written by Foley during his The Kids in the Hall days and in hindsight that makes plenty of sense as the movie is basically one joke idea stretched to last ninety minutes, with plenty of additional smaller sketches sprinkled evenly throughout the script to pad out the story. That might not sound like a ringing endorsement, but actually the movie is quite enjoyable for what it is: a very comfy spoof of The Fugitive, where the core joke is that the main character, played by Dave Foley, finds his boss murdered, and thanks to his own stupidity he falls under the false impression that he’s wanted for murder, not knowing that everybody almost immediately figured out that he didn’t do it. Cue hijinks as Foley keeps trying to escape from the long reach of the law and, as if by sheer dumb luck, repeatedly stumbles into the real killer n the process.

Aside from the obvious jokes that involve Foley trying to evade the police and keep his identity a secret, the 92 minute long running time serves you with plenty of smaller, fun gags, such as a pretty decent boob joke involving Jennifer Tilly in a see through nightgown or the cop in charge of the murder investigation being far more interested in abusing the authority and resources given to him for personal gain rather than doing any real police work. Nothing really tops the very best gag in the movie that features Dave’s complete mental breakdown and subsequent panic after he has discovered the body of his boss, a situation which sends Dave running through the office, covered in blood, with the murder weapon still in his hand, looking like a complete lunatic. It’s frighteningly hilarious scene, and it gets even funnier when Foley, after having made a giant scene, then tries to play it entirely cool, and just waltzes inside a crowded elevator, still entirely drenched in blood.

Unfortunately, as amusing as these farcical elements are in the movie, as a feature movie The Wrong Guy falls short of being great and ends up being a bit mediocre. That is not to say it’s a particularly bad movie, far from it. I certainly got a kick out of watching it. It’s just that it’s not anything special. The humor is witty but you rarely find yourself bursting out laughing. It’s far more likely that you smirk and think “okay, that’s actually kinda clever” and remain in that stable, but not very elevated state of amusement for remainder of the movie. I think where the trouble lies is that it’s a bit too disposable as a comedy. You see it once and then immediately forget about it.


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