(V) Ongoing, cartoon-style violence and very small children may be worried about threats to Ernest by power tools, various weapons & a tarantula, but no one is actually hurt.
ERNEST RIDES AGAIN is the latest installment in the ongoing adventures of Ernest P. Worrell, the manic redneck who has starred in hundreds of TV commercials and five feature films. This is certainly the worst of the lot, suffering from stupid characters and atrocious dialogue which are far more annoying than any of the slapstick, Bugs Bunny-style violence. Such a miscalculation is unfortunate, because the film is otherwise totally clean.
In ERNEST RIDES AGAIN, a continuation of the “Ernest” series starring Jim Varney, Ernest befriends a university professor who believes that England’s Crown Jewels are fake and the real Crown Jewels are stashed in a huge cannon somewhere in Virginia. The two locate the cannon and literally ride it all over the surrounding countryside with crooks, the British Secret Service, a pair of aggressive vacuum-cleaner salesmen, and the professor’s wife in hot pursuit. In the chase, Ernest suffers repeated slapstick-style violence and gets hit on the head frequently.
All turns out well in the end, but only the most undemanding viewer won’t feel some resentment over the relentlessly awful script which wastes the true comic potential of Varney’s dumb-like-a-fox character, Ernest. Ernest can be a terrific comic foil if his manic dialogue plays against more serious and well-written situations. This actually occurred in his second film, ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS, a surprisingly witty and charming tale of the search for a successor to a retiring Santa Claus. However, ERNEST RIDES AGAIN contains too much atrocious dialogue and utterly stupid characters to offer much enjoyment for anyone, aside from the very young. At least, only the most anxiety-ridden tots will find any of the film very scary.