The plot of Senseless, penned by Greg Erb and Craig Mazin, is
thus: Economics major Darryl Witherspoon (Wayans) needs cash, and though
he's dedicated, his grades at Stratford University are not good enough to
get him the coveted Assistant Analyst job at the highbrow investment firm
of Smythe Bates. His snotty, spoiled classmate Scott Butler (Spade) seems
a shoo-in for the position, since his dad is well-connected with the firm.
Darryl sees an ad for a scientific study involving an experimental drug,
and jumps at the chance to be a guinea pig for money. The job pays $3,000,
and all he has to do is inject this green stuff into his gluteus. The drug
is supposed to enhance all five of his senses, and despite some uncomfortable
side effects, it does just that. Suddenly Darryl has super hearing, super
vision, super smell, etc., etc. Can anyone guess what happens? I'll give
you five bucks if you can't figure it out.
Sorry, you lose: predictably, he uses his super senses to impress the
powers that be, get the job, best the brat, and even get the girl: a too-classy-for-this-movie
young co-ed named Janice (Tamara Taylor). But of course he gets greedy and
overdoses, and that's what gets him in trouble. The side effects go into
overdrive and threaten to blow his cover, and his trendy roommate Tim (Matthew
Lillard) thinks he's shooting heroin and seeks professional help, further
buggering up Darryl's plans.
There must be some sweat shop in Hollywood where illegal immigrants are
paid less than minimum wage to crank out bad scripts in order to fill out
the season between the real movies. Despite a rather humorous characterization
by Lillard and a few clever cracks by Spade, there is little here to inspire
even a chuckle. Wayans's overdone physical comedy is energetic, but seldom
rises above bathroom humor and facial contortions. This is not helped by
director Penelope Spheeris. Bits that are funny for a few seconds are played
until we are thinking, "Okay, okay, get on with it!" And the sappy
relationship between Darryl and Janice, and also between him and his single
mother (Esther Scott) is laid on with a trowel.
Spade seems out to lunch in this movie, like he's just going through the motions. I would attribute it to the loss of his best friend Chris Farley, but this movie was shot before Farley died. Maybe he just realized too late what a turkey he was involved in. *
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