Bushwhacked (1995) — A Home Alone spin-off of sorts

“If the manual told you to stick your wiener in a light-socket, would you do it?”

Justin’s rating: I sentence you to Life… Scout rank

Justin’s review: Am I the only person who consistently mixes up Daniel Stern and Chris Elliott? They kind of occupy that same space of “guy I wouldn’t let into my house unsupervised but I would watch goofing out about the lawn” in my head. But Elliott is the Cabin Boy guy and Stern is the Home Alone dude, and nary their paths shall cross.

In fact, you may be surprised to learn that Bushwhacked was — or at least was rumored to be — a spin-off of the Home Alone series. It was written for Stern to reprise his role as Marv, but this time going about his own solo adventure. However, this connection was scrapped along the way, and Marv was renamed to Max (although his personality was pretty much left untouched).

It’s also reported that the Boy Scouts denied the makers of this film permission to use the official name. That’s probably wise, considering that Bushwhacked ended up being some sort of demented anti-recruiting video for kid scouting in America. Doesn’t mean it isn’t funny as all get out, though.

Stern is Max, a slob deliveryman who accidentally gets wrapped up in a murder-robbery and flees into the mountains to figure out who really did it. Or something. Desperate to stay hidden, he pretends to be an experienced scoutmaster who takes charge of six high-strung Cub Scouts-but-we-can’t-legally-call-them-that and heads out into the wild. I must mention that one of these kids is a girl.

Let me recap this. The premise of the movie is that an accused adult murder suspect takes a half-dozen pre-teens out into the woods under false pretenses. That’s our starting point. That’s the horrifying parental nightmare that serves as a launching pad for laughs. Just let that soak in.

Max is, of course, completely unprepared and unskilled for wilderness survival, nevermind basic babysitting. But he can’t quite seem to shake the kids or disavow them of the notion that he’s not some sort of master woodsman. So why not, he figures he might as well use them for cover as he hikes up a super-dangerous mountain to uncover the real criminal.

At least the film recognizes how twisted all of this is. Heck, it revels in it. Bushwhacked is part of that class of ’90s comedies that kept on piling weirdness like flapjacks until you were dining on sheer lunacy and maple syrup. It’s not a movie for people who like their comedy sanitized and their plots logical. It’s kids often saying things kids shouldn’t, adults not being great role models, and nature trying to murder the lot of them.

From training bra slingshots to punching baby bears to kids accidentally peeing on FBI agents, Bushwhacked is so wrong that it’s right. Daniel Stern does unhinged physical comedy quite well, which is pretty much his mode 100% of the time. And it’s certainly humorous that his flailing about ends up giving these scouts the best camping trip of their lives.

While Bushwhacked isn’t one the most remembered Stern vehicle, the actor himself stated that this oddball flick was “near and dear to his heart” due to the friendships he made with the writers. “So happy that people still enjoy it and so proud of each and every member of our cast and crew,” he said in 2016.

Didja notice?

  • Max is rocking those butterfly collars
  • Kids’ backpacks are the perfect place to put your trash
  • FBI agents like to use terms like “it was gross, really really gross” on TV
  • Mountain climbing fakeout
  • “This isn’t scouting, this is home ec!”
  • Tough guys shave with huge hunting knives whilst driving
  • Gluing a guy to the steering wheel is a new one on me
  • The scary walk through the woods that loops right back to the kids
  • Bug repellant is not supposed to be administered orally
  • Choking the kid with the binoculars
  • Baby bears like being punched in the face
  • The real scoutmaster is a sarcastic hoot
  • Don’t let your mom write your hiking lyrics
  • The peeing scene — GOOOOOLDEN ARCHES
  • Catching fish with your bare hands
  • The birds and the bees scene… I’ll never look at dolls the same again
  • Would you eat the bodies? Yeah, I’d eat the bodies.
  • Messing up smoke signals means spelling “belp! belp!”
  • Training bras can be lethal
  • “Please don’t kill us, Mad Max!”
  • “BELAY myself off?”
  • Daniel Stern makes a good bridge

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