OK, I laughed maybe half a dozen times at this Brazilian farce (in Portuguese, with English subtitles). And a couple of those were belly laughs.
One involves a martial arts brawl that comes out of nowhere, with the tide turned when the good guy wets a bar towel and uses it like nunchucks. Another is when two guys are trying to convince a goat to defuse a bomb for them by doing what goats do.
And don’t even get me started on the battle royale finale.
“Get the Goat” is a romp through “Beverly Hills Cop” starring “The Other Guys,” guys who in this case are hapless Brazilians.
The first is a rural “badass,” the son of an “action movie fanatic” father who named a daughter “Melgibson,” one son “Charlisbronson” and our “hero” Brucuilis. We meet him as he’s chasing down a Lothario who’s just stolen an electric fan from his lover’s cabana. “Bruce,” played by motor-mouthed funnyman Edmilson Filho (His “O Shaolin do Sertão” has similar manic “Hai-YA” mayhem.) is so cool, at least in his own mind, that he merits his own entrance music.
Ever heard “The Heat is On” in Portuguese? Just you wait.
Bruce is a real bull in a china shop in his little corner of Ceará province, the small town of Guaramobim. We learn Brazilian slang for “IDIOT” from his boss.
Trindade (Matheus Nachtergaele) is the seriously hapless pencil-pusher cop enlisted by Operation Thunderbolt and its chief Priscilla (Letícia Lima) to stage a buy from Ping Li (Eyrio Okura) that will get them closer to the mysterious Big Boss of the Brazilian drug trade, The White Glove. Trindade doesn’t take a bullet for her partner in that operation, which means he “got my best man killed,” according Priscilla. He’s promptly demoted to a small, sleepy São Paulo precinct.
When Bruce screws up one time too many and loses the town goat (formerly a city councilwoman) Celestrina and the mascot of their Rapadura Festival, he will stop at nothing to get her back, chasing the drug courier who winds up with her all the way to Trindade’s turf.
Can these two nitwits foil Ping Li, catch and “out” The White Glove and “Get the Goat” back?
I can’t say much for this silly script except that every so often, some of its low-hanging fruit produces jam.
Trindade isn’t eager to pursue a stolen vehicle case, but if a five year old “kid” named Celestine has been (literally) “kidnapped?” He’s all in, if confused.
They try to wring laughs out of a Chinese restaurant that might have some clues. If only they can get over their stereotypical ideas of who works there. No, they’re not Chinese and all martial artists. They’re locals.
They run a stake-out out of an Uber, leap to conclusions about who they’re after and get chewed out by Priscilla, who’s taken a Chief Inspector Dreyfuss attitude towards her own Inspector Clouseau. She has Trindade’s picture attached to her target at the firing range.
The fight scenes are antic and hilarious. Perhaps director Vitor Brandt realized this too late to add any, but the finale — a shoot-out/punch-out — is a doozy. The two leads click well enough to be funnier than their material, with only the slapstick and mugging (they get taken hostage a time or two) paying off.
This would be an eye-roller, coming out of Hollywood, which has taken more shots at this formula than any other. It almost gets by on just being jaunty. The funniest thing about “”Get the Goat” (original title, “Cabras de Peste”) is seeing timeworn Hollywood cop comedy tropes, gimmicks and gags through a Brazilian lens.
Not great, but it’s got a few laughs, so not that bad either.
MPA Rating: TV-14, gun violence, drug content
Cast: Edmilson Filho, Matheus Nachtergaele, Letícia Lima, Leandro Ramos and Evelyn Castro
Credits: Directed by Vitor Brandt, script by Vitor Brandt, Denis Nielsen. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:37