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Hooch & Daddy-O (Crunchy Cool Entertainment, R)

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Witness the faux serious way he purses his lips before proclaiming, “Let’s do this!”

 

America’s best-loved buddy cop show has been off the air for 20 years; it’s time for a reunion. Hooch & Daddy-O, a St. Louis–produced mockumentary provides a humorous, behind-the-scenes look at the made-for-TV reunion movie, complete with character flaws, insecurities, and sordid pasts.

As the film unfolds, we are introduced to Chris Anich (played by Chris Anich), the actor who plays Hooch (to preserve the illusion of a documentary, the actors’ real names are used as the actors in the film). Anich considers himself a “serious” actor (cut to scenes of him rehearsing Shakespeare), far above the self-centered and dimwittedness of Jim Ousley (as a version of himself, the actor who plays Daddy-O). For his part, Ousley is a playboy who still considers himself a heartthrob. He’s an attention grabber, as is the character he plays (witness the faux serious way he purses his lips before proclaiming, “Let’s do this!”).

The original cast has been reunited for the movie and includes Rory Flynn (Capt. Grayson), Oscar Madrid (Ace Delvecchio), Amy Elz (Darcy), and Robert A. Mitchell (Squeegee, a pimped-out version of Huggy Bear). In the years since the series’ cancellation, its fans are as ardent as ever. There’s an annual convention, a Japanese fan club, and a whole line of themed merchandise.

The script, written by Ousley and Madrid, pokes fun at cop shows, ’80s television, and stardom, showing us firsthand (removed by the lens of the camera, of course—and the fact that this is fiction) what effects celebrity has on people. The characters, while parodies, are relatable and real—and funny. Did I mention yet that Hooch & Daddy-O is a funny, funny movie?

I have but one complaint with the DVD, and that’s its sound editing. Sometimes the words and the lips just don’t match up—and it’s very, very distracting. In one scene—a Hooch & Daddy-O convention—the crowd noise is too high, the onstage talk too low. But that’s it. Most of the time as I watched, I couldn’t believe this was a local production. Not that there’s anything wrong with St. Louis moviemaking…what little there is. But this is quality stuff.

Without giving away the plot—let’s just say there are complications, including a poorly timed breaking-news sex video of Ousley and some very inappropriate propositioning—let’s just say that when you lose track of how many times a film causes you to laugh out loud, it’s a worthy endeavor.

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