Even though the humor in "Blue Collar Comedy Tour," a stand-up comedy concert film, is advertised as having a Southern-influenced point of view, the jokes are witty and universal enough for everyone.
The Blue Collar tour, a successful show that has been on the road for about two years - starring Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White and Dan Whitney - seems to be taking advantage of the trail paved by the Kings of Comedy tour (complete with a David Alan Grier cameo as a manager trying to get the group to wear flashier clothes), which became a Spike Lee film. "Blue Collar," though not as good as "Original Kings of Comedy," still captures the spirit of the actual show. It also shows off how much Foxworthy, White, Whitney and Engvall like and enjoy each other's company.
While the four can't match the star power or edge of Steve Harvey, Bernie Mac, D.L. Hughley and Cedric the Entertainer, they achieve something else, excelling in accessible, family-friendly comedy.
Listen to Dean Martin-smooth Ron White riff on capital punishment in his home state: "In Texas we have the death penalty, and we use it," he boasts. "If you come to Texas and you kill somebody, we will kill you ¿ that's a policy."
Or how about folksy Jeff Foxworthy on the speech habits of racing fans: "A lot of NASCAR fans don't like Jeff Gordon, because Jeff Gordon enunciates."
Says harried dad and husband Bill Engvall: "The first year of marriage, you pick a fight just to make up. Twenty years later, you pick a fight just so you can sleep in the other room."
The only comic in the four-man team to come off like a stereotypical Southerner is Dan Whitney, better known as Larry the Cable Guy, with his pronounced drawl, baseball cap, jeans and flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off at the shoulder. Even though Whitney's character seems dim, his material has the wit to match the persona, as this joke about an overweight sister attests: "I had to hire a rodeo clown to distract her when I brought the groceries home last week."
The group's chemistry comes through in several vignettes where Foxworthy, Engvall, White and Whitney invade a shopping mall, a spa and other locations, giving them the chance to goof off on each other and their surroundings.
The only misstep, albeit an unintentional one, is the end of the film when, after performing their individual routines, the four join onstage for a round of tales they like to tell in an effort to crack each other up. This includes Foxworthy's litany of "you might be a redneck" lines. ("If you think 'NSync is where your dirty dishes are ¿") While it shows off the quartet's camaraderie, it goes on about 10 minutes too long.
3 stars (out of 4)
"Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie" Directed by CB Harding; photographed by Bruce Finn; edited by Tony Hayman; production designed by Jeff Hall; music by James Levine; produced by Alan C. Blomquist, J.P. Williams, Hunt Lowry, Casey La Scala. With Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White and Dan "Larry the Cable Guy" Whitney. A Warner Bros. Pictures release; opens Friday, March 28. Running time: 1:45. MPAA rating: PG-13 (mild language and sexual references).
Allan Johnson is a Chicago Tribune staff writer.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times