Starring: Jerry Calà, Harold Davies, Demetra Hampton
Director: Jerry Calà
Running Time: 96 mins
Chicken Park is an Italian film about a man who travels to the Dominican Republic with his fighting chicken, however after it disappears, he stumbles upon a park where giant, dinosaur-sized chickens roam.
Jurassic Park but with chickens. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Well, that’s not the case at all for Chicken Park. Along with a hugely disappointing lack of giant chickens, it’s a consistently annoying, dumb and brash film that tries too hard to emulate comedy classics like Blazing Saddles and Airplane! with its brand of comedy, but instead does itself even more of a disservice with a juvenile and overly candid collection of jokes, very few of which ever fail to make you laugh.
But before I can really start to complain, let’s look at the film’s very few positives. Despite being generally tedious and totally unfunny, I’ll admit that a couple of the most ridiculous and harmless jokes made me at least chuckle. That’s not really because of the quality of the joke, but simply because it was so stupid, ranging from the likes of luring a dino chicken away from killing someone by offering it a giant box of chips to a woman calling a man a pig, and then the camera pans round to an actual pig smiling at her…
Now, those all sound fairly stupid and harmless, and while they’re undoubtedly the best part of the movie, the same definitely can’t be said for the rest of the comedy, which is awful. Its stupidest moments are just bewildering, but what’s worst about the humour here is that it’s so one-dimensional. So, despite its emulation of the comedy style of Airplane! etc., it operates with countless tedious and juvenile ‘innuendoes’ (which are so frank and graphic at times that they can’t really be called innuendoes), and makes for 90 minutes of soul-destroying failures of jokes again and again and again.
So, it’s fair to say that this film really didn’t make me laugh, but that’s not the half of it. For one, it feels insanely long. 96 minutes is pretty much nothing for a proper film, but a stupid parody like this really shouldn’t be over 70-80 minutes. The first ten minutes alone feel like an eternity, and although the film manages to get into a bit of a stride in its middle act, it then loses all sense again in the finale and drags on and on for what feels like hours.
And unfortunately, a tedious story crossed with a slow pace makes the film a lot more painful than it should be, totally stripping it of a possible ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ label, and instead making for an hour and a half of pointless and boring images that just make you want to end it all there and then.
Finally, one of the biggest problems that I have with this film is that it just doesn’t make sense. Of course, I’m not expecting a fully tight and coherent plot from a film about giant chickens, but even so, when the film completely switches genre about two-thirds of the way through, it really can’t be excused.
As I said, the film’s middle act, where it’s effectively retreading every scene from Jurassic Park but with chickens, is bearable, because it makes a bit of sense. However, about an hour in, the story then decides it’s bored with Jurassic Park, and randomly transforms into a parody of The Addams Family, making for an abrupt and irritating change in atmosphere, made worse by the fact that the Addams Family parody is full of even less ridiculous and unfortunately even more graphic and juvenile sex humour than the previous 60 minutes.
On the whole, I hated Chicken Park. It’s not funny, it goes on for way too long, and despite the very odd chuckle, it completely throws away its potential as a comedy cult film with a tedious story and a random and stupid genre change right in the middle of the movie, which is why I’m giving it a 2.8.