Picks and Pans Main: Video
updated 06/12/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 06/12/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT
How Tim Conway's humorless Dorf on Golf became such a popular comedy video is as big a mystery as, say, how Ronald Reagan never got a gray hair while in office. Conway, as writer and star, was so unfunny in Dorf that he offered a perverse kind of hope: Since he had not used any wit on the original, maybe he was saving some for this sequel.
Maybe Dorf III will be it. This sorry 36-minute tape, Dorfs Golf Bible, consists of a long, not even slightly funny skit on God's creation of the game and his 14 commandments. It's a bit pathetic, in fact, since golf is a perfect subject for a satire, if only because players take it so seriously.
Conway's send-ups, however, just lie there like the ball after one of Dorfs many whiffs with the club. In one instance, we're told the Lord wanted "the game to challenge man's senses, and God created allergies." Conway then hacks and sneezes in the bushes while trying to hit a shot. The joke isn't funny for one second, let alone the minute or so the scene takes.
In another supposed joke, Conway asks for a sand wedge; his caddy hands him a sandwich. That's not the only terminology mix-up—when we're told, "And God created the slice," the ball hooks.
Conway also breaks a real commandment—thou shalt not steal—by using a putter equipped with a scope and cross hairs much like one Rodney Dangerfield had in Caddyshack. The only virtue the tape has is its title: Anyone watching this cursed thing will experience grief and woe of biblical proportions. (J2 Communications, $29.95; 800-448-2449)
Now this is a good sport spoof tape. Written by James Van Patten, it stars his father, Dick. Dressed to distract in tank top, bathing suit and black socks, Van Patten is the nastiest netman since Hie Nastase. Bruce Jenner is well cast too as a hotshot foil with $7,000 in lessons under his togs.
Thirty minutes and 17 dirty tricks later, though, Jenner loses more than just the set. Van Patten starts giving him the business even before the match begins with what he calls the "fake the booze, make him lose" trick. "The object of this," he says, taking a swig of tea from a tequila bottle, "is to lead your opponent to the conclusion that you're playing just for fun, giving him a false sense of security." And since form, or lack thereof, isn't required for the dirty player, Van Patten stresses his psychological game, training "with long hours of mental gymnastics, such as poker and handicapping the horses."
Funny, too, are captions showing the characters' true thoughts. When Jenner says, "You, Dick, are playing great," he means, "I always hated you in Eight Is Enough."" And though the "calling-a-bad-ball-good" trick is enjoyably sneaky (use it on a noncritical point to look like a good sport), the dirtiest of all is having Nicollette (The Sure Thing) Sheridan sunbathe courtside, distracting both Jenner and the viewer, who should be scribbling notes.
Dirty Tennis is a must for the tennis player who'll stop at nothing to win, or to get a laugh. Hmmm. Maybe the Van Pattens should take up golf tapes. (MCA, $19.95; 818-777-1000)