Making the Grades
If you haven't seen an Ernest movie, you probably never will. And if you have seen one, you have likely seen them all, both literally and figuratively. All Ernest movies are the same, but somewhere out there is a dedicated audience for these films. There must be, or they wouldn't put the dollars on the table to keep making them.
Ernest, played by Jim Varney, started life in television commercials in the 1980's, until one day someone thought an Ernest movie could fill theatre seats. Since then, the slow thinking obnoxious character has gone to camp, saved an antique cannon, and now becomes a basketball star. As far as I'm aware, Slam Dunk Ernest didn't even make the theatres, but was released directly to video, where I'm sure its greatest market exists.
Other than a ridiculous plot full of stupid characters, my main concern with Ernest movies is similar to many other films recently made about slow thinking people. In the movies we are so willing to accept that Ernest can be a basketball star, Gump can be a millionaire, two dumb and dumber guys can solve a kidnapping ring -- yet in reality do these films do anything to help us understand people with mental handicaps? It seems audiences get much more enjoyment laughing at these people rather than doing anything constructive to learn more about them.
Ernest is frequently the recipient of a variety of slapstick violent acts and the film contains a couple of mild sexually suggestive scenes. If your kids are determined to watch this movie, you may want to see it first or view it with them. Ask them if they think someone like Ernest would be so successful in real life. Also, get them to identify when Ernest's "friends" were really interested in playing basketball with him. Did they like Ernest for who he was, or were they only interested in him after he gained his basketball abilities?