Plot: Joe (Joe Pesci) and Gus (Danny Glover) have been friends as long as they can remember and while the two often get on each other’s nerves, they always look forward to their annual fishing trip. This is because while both have families and careers, their main interest is fish and between time on the water, the two do little aside from talk, watch, and dream about fishing. The friends even spend time watching Willie Nelson fish on television, for some reason. This is a long tradition for the aquatic buddies, but this time around, things don’t go as smoothly as usual. Gus and Joe seem to cash in all their bad luck on the journey to the sacred waters, but can the friends overcome it all and get their poles wet after all?
Entertainment Value: Gone Fishin’ is a movie that enjoyed a budget over $50 million, but somehow fails to deliver even mild entertainment. The movie wants to be a wacky, what could go wrong next kind of road/buddy comedy, but it never builds any steam and drums up few laughs. The narrative is fine as a concept, as the potential for humor is there for these road trips gone wrong kind of stories, but Gone Fishin’ stalls often and is unable to get momentum. The writing is just bland and tired at best, outright cringe level at times even, as the cast struggles to try to make it work at all. Even the funniest moments in this one are minor at best, with most of the jokes turning out to be flops and the leads can’t seem to squeeze out some laughs. Of course, when the banter is this lame, it is hard to blame the cast, but the leads don’t seem to be invested in the material, which makes matters worse. A slow pace, lackluster performances, and humorless comedy all combine here, so I can’t recommend Gone Fishin’ at all.
You might think the combined talents of Danny Glover and Joe Pesci could manage to carry even a bad script to a watchable movie, but the two falter under the material and often seem disinterested. This seems like one of those movies the stars make to take a vacation or what not, while shooting a picture for the write offs, as neither lead is at all invested in Gone Fishin’. As I said above, you can’t place all the blame on Pesci and Glover, as the writing is weak throughout, but their kind of talent could have pulled a little more than this out of the well. If the two had brought some decent chemistry to the roles, as the movie claims they’re longtime best friends, perhaps that could have added something, or at least some charm could have salvaged some of the less awful moments, I would think. Instead we have lazy efforts that don’t try to extract what little humor there is in the material, leaving us with forgettable performances on both counts. The cast also includes Rosanna Arquette, Lynn Whitfield, Carol Kane, Gary Grubbs, and Willie Nelson.