The Pest (1997)

There are a few things that can beat a good light-hearted comedic film. A film that is flippant, forthright in what it wants to be, and not afraid to shout it from the rooftops. The Pest is one of those films, While it’s not a prestige picture, it is certainly a winner in its own right.

Leguizamo's talents are in full force in The Pest
Leguizamo’s talents are in full force in The Pest.

When self-proclaimed scheming scam artist, Pestario Rivera Garcia Picante Salsa Vargas (or Pest for short) enters into a deal with a German billionaire, he has to spend 24 hours
while avoiding death, seduction, and alienating the family of his girlfriend to win a $50,000 scholarship. It’s a modern take on a classic “survival of the fittest” tale with a real 90s twist. The Pest has to use his charm and skills in order to navigate both the natural and the concrete jungle.

The film is a delightful take on "The Most Dangerous Game"
The film is a delightful take on “The Most Dangerous Game”

I just wanted to also shout out the theme song of The Pest, Voodoo Mambo, a surprisingly catchy anthem that sets the tone and the heart of the film so well. It serves as a fitting setting to the late 90s Miami backdrop. It’s fun, fresh, and feels totally in character. Accompanied by interesting sets and a strong cast of supporting roles help make this film a joy to behold.

The film spends a lot of time in vibrant Miami
The film spends a lot of time in vibrant Miami.

John Leguizamo (eleven years before his appearance in The Happening) plays The Pest in a surprisingly hyperactive fashion, watching him perform is like watching a Looney Tunes cartoon come to life, an impressive feat for a live action film. You can tell he’s having a heck of a time with the material, considering he shares a story credit, you can tell he’s generally excited about this project, It helps make the film enjoyable. He is joined by Jeffery Jones who plays the Neo-Nazi with an equal amount of comedy and menace.

Jeffrey Jones as the funny and menacing Gustav
Jeffrey Jones as the funny and menacing Gustav.

The Pest remains an endearing film, bringing the hyperactivity energy of Leguizamo to full force. Accompanied by a unique take on a classic story. It’s a zany popcorn film that serves as an entertaining cohesively fun thrill-ride. It’s also has a wide variety of jokes that anybody can enjoy. From diarrhoea and fart jokes to social commentary. In the words of Voodoo Mambo “Damn it’s terrific!”

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