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Film / Black Sheep (1996)

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A 1996 comedy film directed by Penelope Spheeris, starring Chris Farley and David Spade.

Mike Donnelly (Farley) is the bumbling younger brother to Al Donnelly (Tim Matheson), an up-and-coming political figure in the state of Washington trying to defeat two-time-incumbent Evelyn Tracy (Christine Ebersole) and become Governor. Problem for Al is, try as Mike may to be a good little brother and offer his services to Al's campaign drive, his good intentions always end up going horribly wrong and they become P.R. nightmares for Al and his main advisor, Roger Kovary (Timothy Carhart). To attempt to contain Mike, Al and Roger assign campaign worker Steve Dodds (Spade) to shadow Mike and keep the unfortunate consequences of his actions at bay.

Not to be confused with Black Sheep. Mike doesn't reject his role in his family; he instead embraces his role, to the point where even Al, if only for a brief moment, does consider cutting him off. Also not to be confused with the New Zealand horror comedy about killer sheep.


This film provides examples of:

  • Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl L Able: Mike and Steve's nitrous oxide trip on their way to the post-election ceremony causes them to be unable to pronounce "roads." (RO-ads......rOOds)
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Steve's first impression of Drake Sabitch (played by Gary Busey) upon arriving inside Drake's schoolbus-converted-to-living-quarters. "This guy is like Leatherface, Chucky and Jan Brady all rolled into one." Which could be a CallBack to what was said about Mike.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Implied with Mike after the house fell from the boulder when Steve unplugs the fridge and pins Mike against the wall.
    Mike: "I'm just dandy! I've got a bowl of chocolate pudding in my underpants!"
    Steve: "We didn't have any pudding in there, buddy."
  • Butt-Monkey: Mike, poor guy. He humiliates his brother, keeps hurting himself and keeps failing when he desperately wants to succeed.
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  • Chekhov's Gunman: Drake Sabitch is a quite literal example.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Cloudcuckoolander might be too strong of a word for Mike but this is Steve's job for the campaign, and he actually volunteers for it.
  • Covered in Gunge: Steve, after a chance meeting with some young, local riffraff ends in him being sprayed point blank with a fire extinguisher.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: At the end of the scene at the Governor's Mansion, where Mike has fallen on top of former Governor Tracy and cannot get up because the podium is on top of his legs. His jerky motions to free himself look know.
  • Friend on the Force: The local cop is good friends with Mike and covers for him to get away from the scene of the fire due to believing in his claims he's being set up.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Mike Donnelley is suspected to have started a fire, and at one point parties with the underage but, nonetheless, saves the day.
  • The Klutz: Mike, big time. It's his most unfortunately pronounced trait and this is made clear from his first scene.
  • The Load/The Millstone: Mike to his brother, oh so much.
  • Meaningful Name: Drake Sabitch. (As in, Son of a....)
    • Or alternatively, "Drake's a bitch".
  • Military Brat: Drake Sabitch. And his entire bloodline, as well.
  • No Indoor Voice: Farley is arguably this trope in human form.
    Steve: "This is great, I've never won three games in a row before."
    Mike: "Yeah, well uh, it's easy to win when you, uh.... NEVER MOVE YOUR BACK ROW!! EVER!! God!"
  • No Party Given: Neither challenger Donnelly nor incumbent Tracy's political affiliation are mentioned, nor do they discuss any policies or positions that would hint at them.
  • Oh, Crap!: When it dawns on Mike that something in the car has gone horribly wrong: the nitrous oxide has started leaking and...
    Mike: I'm are you!
  • Opportunistic Bastard: The reporter who blackmails Tracy, revealing that he can knows he can release photos showing what happened to either side (depending on who is more desperate) and get paid for it while still having a name-making story.
  • Precision F-Strike: Governor Tracy to her aide Neuschwander, who is stirring his drink somewhat obsessively.
    Gov. Tracy: "Neuschwander, are you finished stirring that drink, or is this some kind of fucking science experiment?!"
  • Shout-Out: "I can get her up to as good as 155. Never do though, of course, unless I'm chasing a cute chick in a ferrari".note 
  • Slapstick: A lot of the film follows Jack injuring himself or accidentally causing destruction with his clumsiness.
  • Someday This Will Come in Handy: Mike's seemingly un-important declaration that there are 1,502 registered voters in Garfield County. It seems like a throwaway line, but becomes an integral part of the plot later on when it leads him and Steve to realize that Governor Tracy and her team might be rigging the election by inflating vote tallies.
  • Spiritual Successor: Indeed to Tommy Boy to the point where it could be confused for an actual sequel.
  • Stoners Are Funny: Tommy hangs out with some stoners at a "Rock the Vote" rally, getting very high before being mistaken for his brother.
  • Tangled Family Tree: A smaller family example that most, but when listing Sabitch's dead ancestors, Norris and Nelson, it's mentioned that one died in WWII and another in Korea. This short of a gap between deaths presumably means that they were in the same generation (probably his father and uncle) but it isn't elaborated on.
  • Tempting Fate: "Thanks for not shoving the nozzle up my ass first."
  • That Came Out Wrong: "We've all been screwed by Governor Tracy! And now, I'm gonna screw her!"
  • Thicker Than Water: Essentially Al's reaction to Roger, even without dialogue to confirm it, after Roger's annoyance with Mike finally bubbles over and forces Al to choose between his brother or his career.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Tracy's two bodyguards, in a silent, sinister way.


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