(director: Howard Franklin; screenwriter: Ray Blount, Jr./Pen Densham/Garry Williams; cinematographer: Ellit Davis; editor: Sidney Levin; music: Miles Goodman; cast: Bill Murray (Jack Corcoran), Keith David (Hurst), Janeane Garofalo (Mo), Jerry Adler (Event Coordinator ), Matthew McConaughey(Tip Tucker), Lois Smith (Luluna), Pat Hingle (Vernon), Linda Fiorentino (Terry Bonura), Tai (Vera), Jeremy Piven (Waiter), Anita Gillette (Murray’s Mom), Maureen Mueller (Celeste). Harve Presnell (Trowbridge Bowers), Greg Lewis (Junkyard Guy), Joseph Palmas (Village Priest), Roy Keith (Indian Chief); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: John Watson/Pen Densham/Richard Barton Lewis; MGM Home Entertainment; 1996)

An elephant-based comedy that forgets to be funny.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An elephant-based comedy that forgets to be funny. The talented Bill Murray in a curmudgeon bit, does his best to keep it from being a turd Dumbo would step on. The direction of Howard Franklin (“Quick Change”/”The Public Eye”) leaves a lot on the road as an oddball friend road film, but keeps it pleasant enough for the target family audience to enjoy.

It’s written by the humorist Roy Blount Jr., from a story by Pen Densham and Garry Williams.

Struggling ‘motivational speaker’ Jack Corcoran (Bill Murray) wants to get better gigs but can’t. When his circus clown father dies, someone he never met, he inherits his 8- thousand pound performing elephant named Vera and his father’s debts. Jack must sell the elephant to pay off the shyster will lawyer (Harve Presnell) and must decide if he’s to sell it to the gruff but caring animal lover San Diego zookeeper Mo (Janeane Garofalo) or the attractive but phony Hollywood animal show trainer Terry (Linda Fiorentino). He then must get the elephant in five days to California and travel cross-country by rail and truck to seal the deal. On the journey the odd couple of Jack and the elephant bond for a mushy climax. Pat Hingle plays his Dad’s old circus friend, the Human Blockhead; Lois Smith plays Hingle’s wife, a retired Tattooed Lady; Anita Gillette cleans up some of the messy moments playing Murray’s overbearing mom, and Matthew McConaughey is this unhinged trucker conned into giving the odd couple a ride.

I expect more from a Bill Murray comedy. though it’s not that bad if only looking for a mild diversion.