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R: ARCHIVE, S: REVIEWS, D: 02/13/1997,

The Pest

I review bad comedies. Meet Wally Sparks, Beverly Hills Ninja, and The Stupids are some of the more recent. But The Pest is, without a doubt, the unfunniest of the bunch.

John Leguizamo stars as Pest, a Miami scam artist who lives life one scheme at a time. Then he meets Gustav Shank (Jeffrey Jones), a German who has killed every ethnicity except for Puerto Rican. Gustav sees his chance; fortunately, his son Himmel (Edoardo Ballerini) hates his father and tries to help Pest escape. Only problem is, Himmel is gay and wants to get Pest in the sack. To avoid the evil Nazi and the sexed-up homo, Pest impersonates a Chinese waiter, an Orthodox rabbi, a Japanese businessman, and an African guy. What stops director Paul Miller's film from being offensive is Leguizamo's unintentional ability to get all the stereotypes completely wrong.

This movie defies review. To critique it would be like writing about a restaurant that only serves birdseed. Of course, humans don't like birdseed -- it's not meant for our species. Which life form The Pest is meant for, though, is a puzzler. At the Copley Place and the Allston and in the suburbs.

-- Mark Bazer