By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Five Beers) –
Ernest P. Worrell (Jim Varney) is desperate to join the amateur basketball team his coworkers participate in. The team (dubbed the “Clean Sweeps”, in tribute to the janitorial services offered by its members) is reluctant at first to allow him to play. Ernest receives a surprise visit from a guardian angel (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) who blesses him with a pair of magic Hi-tops, which give him the power to jump very high, and run fast. Ernest uses his newfound “talent” to bring the team national attention, eventually booking a game against the Charlotte Hornets.
It’s Like Mike, If Lil Bow-Wow was replaced by your creepy neighbor
For those unfamiliar with the “Ernest” character, I’ll sum up by saying that in the late 80s and early 90s Ernest P. Worrell appeared as a character in a series of low budget, but fairly successful family films with varying degrees of quality. They could range anywhere from guilty pleasure funny, to Ernest goes to Africa…
Which would probably be considered racist, if not clearly thought up while huffing paint
The fact is that no Ernest film is objectively “good”, but some are enjoyable from the perspective of nostalgia for massive childhood head injuries (which incidentally is the proper condition in which to watch Slam Dunk Ernest).
The plot contrivance of magic shoes may have come before Like Mike, but it is no where near an original (or interesting) idea. Low budget family films seem to use the “magic bullshit” concept quite often. From Air Bud, to Angels in the Outfield, to Rookie of the Year, and many others. It has yet to work.
The chief difference between Slam Dunk Ernest and these other family films is Jim Varney’s age at time of the film (the late 40s) compared with the child actors in the others. Age differences should be inconsequential, but who exactly was this made for? The film is far more childish and tame than his earlier films, so the audiences who grew up on Ernest likely were now too old to care.
This is supposed to bring in younger audiences?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar clearly doesn’t want to be here. He delivers a performance more stilted than Shaq in Kazaam, and Airplane proved that Kareem could do comedy quite well, so it certainly wasn’t a lack of experience. I could write a whole article about basketball stars whoring themselves out to kids movies in the 90s… it was never pretty.
The special effects are exactly as good as you’d imagine. But unfortunately no good youtube videos exist of the shittastic moments. In its place, I present a video for another “magic shoes movie” that is far worse. Enjoy!
Ernest would appear in worse movies… but this is pretty awful.
Take a Drink: any time Ernest says “youknowwhatImean”
Take a Drink: for every prat fall
Do a Shot: when Ernest slam dunks