year: 1996
cast: Rodney Dangerfield, Cindy Williams
rating: *1/2

Rodney Dangerfield died in 2004, but his movie career died after "Back to School", which was his crowning cinematic achievement. He helped turn "Caddyshack" into a classic . His next venture, "Easy Money", although flawed, had some great moments. And "Back to School" was the peak. Then something happened. Or didn't happen. In 1992 he starred in "Ladybugs", a kid's movie about a cross-dressing teenager playing on a girl's soccor team. Then, four years later, he made this film about a controversial talk show host: a cross between Geraldo Rivera, Jerry Springer, Howard Stern, and... Rodney Dangerfield. The plot centers on the title character "Wally Sparks", as he offends sensors, producers, religious groups and a put-upon governer with the same kind of one-liners that "Al Czervick" used on posh country club elits and grungy caddies; that "Monty Capuletti" used on his family and drinking buddies; and that Thornton Melon used on just about everyone... but the lines in "Sparks" just aren't funny. Either that, or Rodney had reached the age where they didn't seem real. It's as if all the barbs were merely written down and memorized.

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