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Ernest in the Army (1998)

Just one year prior, Jim Varney and John Cherry III failed miserably when they introduced the world to Ernest Goes to Africa. For years the duo found success in each installment of the Ernest series (at least with their target audiences). As Varney came towards the end of his career, he found himself in one of the worst films ever. Luckily for Varney and Cherry, they had the opportunity to come together for one more film and attempt to make up for the terrible mistake they made the year before. No different than usual, Ernest finds himself in loads of trouble, however, this time, the trouble he finds himself in is far more significant than anything audiences had seen before. The fate of the free world is at stake as known terrorist, President Almar Habib Tufuti (Ivan D. Lucas), plans to attack innocent people and as a result, Ernest P. Worrell is tasked with helping save those people’s lives. Naturally, Ernest joining the military would cause many issues for both him and everyone he comes in contact with. As anyone would expect, Ernest finds himself in lots of trouble and throughout the film makes simple scenarios much more difficult than necessary. The film is more of the same slapstick comedy and insanely stupid scenarios, however, it seems that this film, in some ways, was satirical. It regularly pokes fun at news stations, the military and government, making thinly veiled claims that these things need to change in the real world. This aspect of the film, regardless of one’s opinion on these matters, makes this installment of the Ernest saga much deeper than the others. Ernest in the Army makes up for the abomination that happened a year ago and it perfectly wraps up the entire series. Ernest saves the day, makes new friends and (in one way or another) gets the girl. Through five films (and four more to come) Ernest P. Worrell became overwhelmingly stupid. His character and the films, in general, became redundant and boring. The characters, the stories and most of what took place in the films ended up feeling too ridiculous to appreciate on almost any level. Spreading the films out a bit more would allow for a better appreciation of the films and the characters. With all of that being said, Ernest Scared Stupid (1991) and Ernest Goes to Jail (1990) are films that I could watch quite often and still enjoy. Their comedy far surpasses that of the other films and provides better entertainment for the entire family than Varney and Cherry’s other works.



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