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two party guys bob their heads to haddaway's dance hit " what is love ? "
while getting themselves into trouble in nightclub after nightclub .
it's barely enough to sustain a three-minute _saturday_night_live_ skit , but _snl_ producer lorne michaels , _clueless_ creator amy heckerling , and paramount pictures saw something in the late night television institution's recurring " roxbury guys " sketch that would presumably make a good feature .
emphasis on the word " presumably . "
_a_night_at_the_roxbury_ takes an already-thin concept and tediously stretches it far beyond the breaking point--and that of viewers' patience levels .
the first five minutes or so of _roxbury_ play very much like one of the original " roxbury guys " skits .
with " what is love ? "
blaring on the soundtrack , the brotherly duo of doug and steve butabi ( chris kattan and will ferrell ) bob their heads , scope out " hotties " at clubs , and then bump a select few with violent pelvic thrusts .
there is one crucial difference , however--these guys speak .
that little fact has been used as justification for the film's existence , that the butabis' newfound capacity for speech would open up a whole new set of doors for the characters .
the doors opened by director john fortenberry and screenwriters steve koren , ferrell , and kattan are new , that's for sure , but they all lead to comic dead ends .
there is no story per se , only a loosely structured and linked series of subplots .
the brothers literally run into ( or , rather , get run into , as in by car ) richard grieco of _21_jump_street_ fame , and through him they gain entrance into the exclusive roxbury club .
there , they meet a hotshot club owner ( chazz palminteri , conspicuously uncredited--can you blame him ? ) , who takes an interest in an idea of theirs .
meanwhile , the bros' overbearing father ( dan hedaya ) wants them to stop clubbing .
when doug refuses and the dimwitted steve obeys his father , a rift is created between the two .
the narrative messiness of _roxbury_ would have been forgivable if all that went on were the slightest bit funny , but virtually none of it is .
the assembled press audience mostly sat stonily silent throughout the entire film , with the one big exception being a big laugh near the end .
alas , the joke--a rather lazy takeoff on _jerry_maguire_--will only strike a chord with people who have seen that film .
granted , a lot of people _have_ seen _jerry_maguire_ , but the fact that the film's best joke is completely dependent on one's familiarity with another film says a lot about _roxbury_'s lack of inspiration .
that lack of inspiration can be traced back to the insipid characters themselves .
like too many of the skits on the current incarnation of _saturday_night_live_ , " the roxbury guys " is a one-joke sketch that never once suggests that the characters have enough comic life in them to survive outside of the sketch context .
after watching one of the " roxbury " skits on snl , this is what you come away with from the characters : they bob their heads to " what is love ? " ,
bump unsuspecting women , and . . . that's all .
after watching _a_night_at_the_roxbury_ , you'll be left with exactly the same .