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If you like bathroom humor, 'Larry' may bowl you over

If plumber's-crack close-ups and wall-to-wall flatulence jokes are your idea of a good time, you're either a Larry the Cable Guy fan or a gastroenterologist. ''Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector" does its best to weed out the gastroenterologists.

A member of the ''Blue Collar Comedy Tour" gang of neo-redneck stand-ups, Larry -- born Dan Whitney in Nebraska -- comes across like Jeff Foxworthy without the jokes. As seen on cable TV, growling his signature line ''Git-r-done!" -- I have no idea what it means, either -- he's affable and bear-like, a one-note character comic. ''Health Inspector" hopes to do for Larry what ''Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" did for Jim Carrey, who in this context looks like Noel Coward.

Still, if the movie's witless, it's also pretty harmless. Larry plays a proudly low-rent health inspector in an unnamed city, although if Joe Pantoliano were my mayor I'd probably want to stay anonymous, too. Outraged by Larry's shambling if dedicated approach to the job, Larry's boss (Tom Wilson, forever Biff in ''Back to the Future") pairs him with Amy Butlin (Israeli-American comedian Iris Bahr), a nerdy, sexless co-worker who knows every subsection of the local health code.

The two pair up to solve a mysterious rash of food-poisoning incidents at fancy eateries; suspects include a local soul-food guru (Bruce Bruce) and a frosty four-star restaurateur (Joanna Cassidy). There are random cameos: both Kid Rock and Jerry ''The Beav" Mathers show up looking appropriately embarrassed. Meanwhile, Larry romances a local lady played by Megyn Price, who actually gets us to believe she's attracted to the big fella. That's acting, friends.

Whenever the plot starts to get complicated, ''Health Inspector" clears the decks with crusty underwear humor or just lets Larry mispronounce words (the crimes are ''pre-medicated," and so on). The character represents a cuddly, mainstreamed version of the redneck cliche: Larry sticks up for hard-working folks of all races and creeds and saves his contempt for the pompous, the rich, and the thin.

I could get all pointy-headed here and say he's the latest in a long line of ''hick" comedians who slyly point out the foibles of the upper classes. I could reference Will Rogers. But then I'd have to point out the one thing Larry the Cable Guy isn't: Funny.

Ty Burr can be reached at


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