In the Army Now (1994)

Pauly Shore?! In the Army?! But–what wackiness will ensue from this mash up? The nineties were a time where Hollywood attempted to thrust Pauly Shore on American audiences. And it seemed for a while that Shore was well on his way to becoming a comedy icon. That is, until America caught on quicker than he could establish himself. It was a case of “He’s kind of funny… wait, no he’s not!” Hell even I kind of liked him for a while. It’s a pretty sad commentary on the decade, when the comedy rebel we’re given is Pauly Shore of all people.

Every time I bash him, I’m reminded by friends that he’s the offspring of Mitzi Shore, a bonafide comedy legend. But it becomes even sadder that Shore had nothing more to contribute than a few goofy one-liners and quirks that became old hat after his second movie role. “In the Army Now” is Shore’s comedy vehicle that’s every bit a “Stripes” rip off as you can imagine. Shore is a slacker who is friends with a bespectacled uptight slacker, both of whom enter the military in hopes of getting a free ride, find out it’s actual work, and are thrust in to actual combat in the finale.

And the main character learns nothing, since everyone tells him being a clown won’t get him anywhere, while his success is largely due to the fact that he’s a clown. Most of “In the Army Now” revolve around antics that we’ve seen before. Shore as the inept military recruit can’t get a grenade correctly, doesn’t quite understand boot camp, and really can’t adjust to serving in real combat. Folks like Andy Dick, and Lori Petty don’t help much since they’re really not funny. Shore has no one to save his forced comedic antics, and even Esai Morales who plays straight man is mostly made in to a fool.

“In the Army Now” is proof that Pauly Shore never could quite find a niche in comedy, and by the time the late nineties rolled around he was old news, and thankfully a passé trend. “In the Army Now” was a much better movie when called “Stripes.” That’s because while Bill Murray was much more than goofy one-liners, and rebellion, Shore never had much going for him beyond name recognition. And that only got him so far, in the end.