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Comedian Rodney Dangerfield took on the topic of shock TV in Meet Wally Sparks. A few sparks a generated, but it helps if you have an appreciation for the Police Academy films to enjoy this film. Which I do somewhat.
Meet Wally Sparks also borrows liberally from the plot of The Man Who Came To Dinner. In this case Dangerfield in the title role becomes the man who stayed at the governor's mansion.
Georgia Governor David Ogden Stiers who slips as neatly into a southern accent as he did a Boston one as Charles Emerson Winchester in MASH is advised that he can score a few cheap political points as a 'family values' candidate by attacking the outrageous talk show host Wally Sparks. Which gets a response from Sparks for Stiers to guest on his show and explain his objections.
Then Stiers's son Glenn Walker Harris, Jr. steals an invite to a campaign fundraiser and sends it to Dangerfield who then comes down to Atlanta and promptly injures himself, necessitating he not be moved from there.
After The Man Who Came To Dinner, the film then digresses into a pale imitation of The Fortune Cookie as it turns out Dangerfield isn't half as hurt as he makes out. All that was missing was Walter Matthau threatening to sue to the state of Georgia. Talk about deep pockets.
The humor is pretty crude, not unlike what you see on these shows. But it's actually done with a gentle hand. There were some lost opportunities in this film to make some valid points. As did those two other far better satirical films which Meet Wally Sparks liberally borrowed from.
Still fans of the late Rodney Dangerfeld will respect the film and will some others, just not enough.
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