Movie of the Day – Major Payne
September 20, 2012 Leave a comment
In what dream world is there no more war and our fine killing machines like Major Payne are forced to become teachers? I would love to know what dimension that world exists in. That is basically the only gripe I have with this Bad News Bears like comedy in that the world is bullshit and war is non-existent. Give me some realism. Actually I am fucking around and this movie is probably one of the funnier Wayans family movies, that and Blank Man, that was brilliant.
Hawk-like Marine Corps officer Benson Payne (Damon Wayans) attempts to whip into shape the usual assortment of misfit JROTC kids in this minor remake of The Private War of Major Benson. Of course, both the major and his pint-sized recruits have something to teach one another. Payne teaches them the value of self-discipline and instills self-confidence in them, and the recruits teach him to stop and smell the roses (not to mention the fact that kids sometimes need coddling rather than screaming). And, of course, there is the annual JROTC statewide competition, which the kids are obligated to win before the movie can end. ~ Jeremy Beday, Rovi
A color by numbers underdog comedy that has the adult learning to teach to a young groups of losers and ultimately make them and himself into better people, all while winning the obligatory competition against the snobby ROTC kids from across the lake or something. It’s fairly typical plot lines and development tracks, so there isn’t a lot to expect from this sort of movie in a more traditional viewing sense. Instead, I watch this movie and like it for the sole reason of seeing Damon Wayans be a dick to the Junior ROTC kids and makes jokes. As a comedy, it has a lot of genuine moments that more than make up for the on rails adventure.
Major Payne is really a safe comedy that mirrors a lot of the standard underdog, ragtag team of kids with a dick adult figure, but the performance by Wayans is enjoyable as the non-switched off killing machine of a soldier. He reminds me a lot of Walter Matthau in The Bad News Bears (not saying equals but reminiscent) and how their demeanor has changed over time. Payne is the hard ass, itchy trigger military man that just doesn’t know how to really teach to kids and instead puts them through hell for our amusement. The moments when he is learning to adjust is hilarious as his character is just about as awkward as the kids he is training. The group of kids in the movie are some well known, to a a degree, actors who all bring a little something different to the movie. They are the butt of Payne’s jokes, but also have some wonderful moments of their own. Last is the fact that Michael Ironside is in the movie for a small role, which is awesome cause any movie that has Ironside in it, even for a little bit, is made better in my eyes.
The movie definitely has its ebb and flow to which we can expect a climatic finale where Payne’s teachings will win them the competition, people cheer and a smile or two is cracked by Payne. Overall, Major Payne is pretty damn enjoyable, even if it isn’t a comedy that is challenging and goes for obvious jokes. Wayans is one of the more favorable member of the Wayan acting family that I can actually enjoy time and time again. His characterization of Payne is enjoyable and funny, never knowing how to switch off that killer military instinct. The kids provide the comedic butts for Wayans jokes and it isn’t a movie which is trying to over reach the comedy. It is what it is.