Bumpkins rejoice: it’s Burl, here to review the animal show! Ha ha, cast your mind back to the year 1994, when a garrulous young pig took the culture by storm, capturing hearts and spraying bacon world-wide! That young pig’s name was Babe, and he has nothing to do with the movie under review today, except that he utterly crushed it and left it flattened and forgotten on the pop culture highway like an old piece of jerky! The name of that misbegotten pig picture? Well it’s Gordy: The Little Pig Who Would!
Ha ha, and you won’t believe it, but I actually saw this porkshow in a movie theatre! I was a semi-professional reviewer back then, and I guess I attended the free preview screening – certainly, ha ha, I didn’t pay for the privilege! I didn’t care for the movie then, but when chance and galactic happenstance recently put a VHS copy in my hands, I thought I’d give it another oink!
To the picture’s credit, it gets off and trotting from the get-go, quite literally! Gordy is a pig who lives in the barnyard of a foreclosed farm with his mother, father, and five piggy siblings! Rough men arrive from the meat packers’ and haul away the dad, and as Gordy is galloping behind the truck carrying his porcine pater, back at the farm the rest of the family is scooped up too, and all of them are taken Up North, the terrifying direction from which no oinkers return! Gordy is left on his own, trotting up the highway in a desperate search for his family!
He soon meets a family country music band who travel the highways and byways in an attractive RV, and briefly, and hearteningly, the movie turns into an RV picture, which you know is something ol’ Burl likes! Ha ha, from Race with the Devil to Paul, the genre is filled with gems, though the movie RV is an exception to the rule! The dad in the band is played by Doug Stone, evidently an established country music star, but I didn’t know him from Joe Bopkins; the tween daughter, meanwhile, a junior-league Lee Ann Rimes, sings about pulling hangnails and checking out your own butt while people line dance before her! Ha ha, line dancing! There seems no terpsichorean form more determined to bleed the fun and spontaneity out of dancing!
But soon Gordy is on his own again, and he hooks up with Hanky, the young scion of a junk food company whom Gordy saves from drowning! This somehow makes him famous, and the next thing you know there’s tedious corporate intrigues, and the daughter of the old man who runs the company – mother to Gordy’s new young friend Hanky – has a boring stuffed shirt for a boyfriend, who works at the junk food company and is trying to win the old man’s heart! But of course when the old man dances off his mortal coil, it’s Hanky who owns the company, along with Gordy! They turn it from a junk food company into a health food company, and inexplicably this causes the company to skyrocket in value! From there– well, let’s just say that none of the subsequent plotting will surprise you very much, but I was glad when the RV and the family band reappeared!
It’s not a movie overburdened by movie star power, ha ha, but there are a few familiar faces and/or voices! The family band’s manager, Cousin Jake, is played by Tom Lester from many a hayseed comedy, and one of the antagonist boyfriend's hired thugs is essayed by Afemo Omilami from Trading Places and The Money Pit! The picture also employs the voice talents of Hamilton Camp from No Small Affair and Earl Boen from The Man With Two Brains, and of course those of the everywhereman Frank Welker, whose golden throat adorns Gremlins and Explorers and so many, many more! And of course there’s a cameo appearance by the young people’s favourite, Louis Rukeyser!
The climax takes place in Branson Missoura, and involves the country-fried talents of Roy Clark from Matilda (the kangaroo one, naturally, not the Roald Dahl one); Jim Stafford of Bloodsuckers From Outer Space fame, and also for singing “Spiders and Snakes;” Mickey Gilley from Smokey and the Good Time Outlaws; and of course Boxcar Willie, decked out in full railriding hobo-face, but with a gee-tar in hand instead of a bindle! Then there’s some fisticuffs between the family band dad and the weasel-faced boyfriend, lots of face-pulling from Cousin Jake, and then the final race to save Gordy’s family, intercut with nightmarish shots of butchers sharpening their knives!
Don’t worry, it all ends up fine, with the last moments of the movie making it seem like the origin story of one of those rural sitcoms of the 60s, most particularly Green Acres! As for the movie itself, everybody in it seems just a little bit off-brand! The grandpa seems like he should be played by Will Geer from Moving Violation or Richard Farnsworth from Into the Night, although the old boy they got is perfectly adequate in the part! Cousin Jake is the sort you can see Jim Varney from Ernest Goes to Camp or Lou Perryman from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 playing, though again, the varmint they cast instead is quite serviceable! And then there’s Gordy himself! He’s cute enough and all, but, as in Francis, a voice is overdubbed as the animal opens and closes its mouth rapidly, as though someone has shoved peanut butter in there, or maybe iron filings!
I haven’t said much about the quality of the movie, but I guess I have to admit that the script and dialogue are a little hamfisted, and the filmmaking itself is of pork wality! Scenes sometimes go on a little bit when there should be cold cuts instead, though I will say that the pacing in general is not bad, and I never sausage a thing as that climactic country music concert! Ha ha, I guess they couldn’t afford Johnny or Waylon or Willie or Kris! And then there’s the star of the show: well, Gordy is not as annoying a character as he might be, but I’m here to tell you he’s not charming either! I give Gordy: The Little Pig Who Would one congratulatory phone call from President Bill Clinton!