Maybe the least well known Chris Farley movie out there, Almost Heroes was the late, great comedian's final film. Christopher Guest's comedy co-starred Matthew Perry as an aristocrat competing with Lewis & Clark to be the first to cross the USA and reach the Pacific.
Released in 1998, almost 6 months following Farley's death, Almost Heroes was not a box-office success and critics didn't much care for it either. Indeed, this is a flawed comedy with a historical setting and plot that's tough to get people excited about. The pairing of the ever-ebullient Farley and the more restrained Perry was a good idea, however, and they are easily the most fun part of the entire movie. There is a feeling when you watch this film that a lot was cut out of it as the editing can be, at times, awkward so it's not too shocking to note that a lot was actually cut out of the film to give the leads more screen time. Originally, this was meant to be more of an ensemble comedy in the vein of, say, Wagons East but it was quickly reshuffled to work as a Chris Farley film which is both a good thing since the actor is the funniest aspect of it but also the reason why the movie's so messy.
The humour is cartoonish throughout, especially during the sequence where Hunt (Farley) is sent down a mountain to find an eagle's egg which might save Edwards' (Perry) life but the former keeps cooking them for himself. The jokes don't all hit the mark but critics were a bit too harsh on the film which, frankly, does have its funny lines and moments. The simple story still has its share of plot-holes and random edits, however, so it's understandable why Almost Heroes wasn't exactly praised upon its release. Fans of Chris Farley's slapstick shouldn't care too much about the logic in this film, though, as seeing the comedian do what he did best makes it worth it. Matthew Perry proves to be a solid choice to contrast with Farley's rough character and Christopher Guest regulars Eugene Levy, Don Lake and Harry Shearer can be spotted (or at least heard) in supporting roles.
It's hard to imagine anyone panning this movie vehemently because it really is a harmless farce with enough laughs and enough talent involved to make it an enjoyable, if very silly watch. Not a bad comedy for Farley to end on, if not his best, but it's one that fans especially should appreciate.
Underrated goofball romp.