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Review: Tiptoes and Home Improvement

April 1, 2011

This week was unusually uneventful. Normally, I use this space to talk about what’s been going on in the middle east, or the recent news about Japan, but things have sort have come to a standstill, more or less. The no-fly zone over Libya has evened things out, the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan are mostly under control, so there’s not much to talk about. Here’s Tiptoes and Home Improvement for the Super Nintendo.

Movies like this are why I do this week after week. Matthew McConaughey plays the only average sized member of a family of dwarves – oh, don’t leave yet, it just gets funnier and more wrong from here – whose fraternal twin brother, played by a CG-shortened Gary Oldman. Meanwhile, Oldman’s best friend, played by Peter Dinklage (Frank/Peter from Death At a Funeral) gets into a relationship with Lucy (Patricia Arquette), who he picked up hitch-hiking. McConaughey gets his girlfriend, played by Kate Beckinsale, pregnant. Fast forward like three months, and McConaughey and Beckinsale are getting married.

The ceremony always confused me, because it’s a Jewish affair, and there aren’t any other indications that the family is Jewish. It comes right the fuck out of the blue, and the whole thing seemed disjointed and kind of like it doesn’t fit. And then it leaves just as quickly.

Okay, skip forward some more. Beckinsale is in labor, and the doctor (who is also a dwarf for…some reason) discovers that the baby will be born a dwarf. This leads to the funniest moment in this movie. McConaughey is so enraged by the fact that his child will be a dwarf that he cocks back and punches a hole in the wall. I’m going to repeat that, because it bears repeating. His anger at the fact that his child will have a condition that he knew that there was a fifty percent chance of happening is so great, that he is forced to ball up his fist and send it wallward, punching a hole in the cardboard that they put on the walls.

Holy mother of unintended comedy, I could watch that scene a dozen times, and I would still burst out laughing every time.

McConaughey decides to leave his wife and newborn child, because that’s really the best thing for a woman who has a child with a serious medical condition. She moves into a cabin with Oldman, who helps her take care of the baby, McConaughey shows up and wants to get back together, but she tells him to fuck off. She gets together with Oldman, end of movie.

This is one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen in my life. I am not even kidding, Tiptoes is fucking hilarious. I know it’s not meant to be, but come on. You made Matthew McConaughey punch through a wall, you turned Gary Oldman into a dwarf with CG, and you throw dwarf actors into the movie to apparently have dwarf actors in your movie. All bets are fucking off. This could have been good as a drama if they had thought any of this out, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as hilarious.

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The 1990s were a good decade to be Tim Allen. His drug trafficking conviction was long behind him, he landed the male lead in The Santa Clause, a supporting actor role alongside Tom Hanks in Toy Story, and the lead role in the popular sitcom Home Improvement. Do you know what else was really popular during the 1990s? Cheap cash-in video games!

The Home Improvement game came out in 1994, at the height of the show’s popularity. It starts with a cutscene showing a special edition of Tool Time, to introduce a new line of Binford tools bearing Tim Taylor’s name. He goes back to bring out the tools, but finds they’ve been stolen and scattered around the back lot. And then the game starts.

The game is…well, it’s oddly familiar and strangely alien all at the same time. It uses a health system similar to the Sonic games, only with nuts and bolts instead of rings. Y’know, because he hosts a show about…fuck it, let’s move on. The weapons are weird and yet somehow appropriate. There’s a nail gun that fires like a MAC-10 (and then like a Contra-style shotgun), a Super Soaker looking blowtorch that works as a flamethrower, and a chainsaw that shoots energy waves for some reason. These are only the weapon pick-ups; Tim also has a whole host of alternate weapons: a jackhammer for small enemies and high drops, a sledge hammer he can swing while moving, a grappling hook to pull himself up to higher levels and knock out set lights.

I’m still not entirely sure how he got a grappling hook gun. Apparently, this game would like us to believe he is Bruce Wayne’s equal.

Honestly, it’s not really that great of a game. It doesn’t really have the humor of the series, but what it loses there, it makes up for by being completely bat-shit insane. You’re killing robotic dinosaurs, huge ants, and destroying styrofoam rocks with nail guns, blowtorches, and chainsaws. It’s hard as nails, but you won’t really care, because it sounds like the plot to a Bruce Campbell movie. You know it’s going to be bad, but you have to go see it because it’s gonna be fucking awesome.

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