Steve Martin has an innocence to him. Always has and always will. So how
did he end up cast as the scheming Sgt. Bilko? Well, producer Brian Grazer
is very comfortable with not only Steve Martin but also his co-stars Dan
Aykroyd and Phil Hartman. Grazer has made "Parenthood", "Spies
Like Us", "Greedy" and "Housesitter" with the
old Saturday Night Live gang and decided to wait a full year until Martin
was available to take on the Fifties TV role that Phil Silvers made his
own. I don't think the wait was justified.
It isn't that Aykroyd isn't endearing as the bumbling base commander or
Phil Hartman isn't sufficiently malicious as the visiting brass with a score
to settle. It is just that Steve Martin is too nice to "spend hours
looking at a circle trying to find the angles." And the angles that
former stand-up comedian and SNL writer, Andy Breckman came up with are
just not that big of a deal. When just about anyone can buy a lottery ticket
at the grocery store, Bilko's private lottery seems harmless. Now that
casinos aren't just in Las Vegas, the roulette table and card games that
Bilko runs don't have the impact that they did in the original TV show.
And after reading about five hundred dollar toilet seats for Air Force bombers,
at least the renting out of military humvees doesn't come out of taxpayers
"Sgt. Bilko" isn't a bad movie, it just isn't worth the six or
seven bucks to get in. Rated PG.