Major Payne

This fumbling and formulaic semiremake of The Private War of Major Benson (1955) is basically just an excuse to let comic Damon Wayansfunctioning here as cowriter and executive producer as well as starstrut his stuff. But he’s strutting in a void, and not even two gold teeth will light his way. The initial premise, good for a couple of laughs at most, is that he’s a professional marine consumed with blood lust who can’t adjust to his honorable discharge and a new job training boys in a Virginia prep school’s junior ROTC; after that, it’s whatever strikes Wayans’s and the filmmakers’ fancies from one moment to the next. That includes some threadbare noncomic material about bonding with the recruits. Directed by Nick Castle and cowritten by Dean Lorey and Gary Rosen; with Karyn Parsons, Michael Ironside, and Albert Hall, and a strained cameo by William Hickey. (JR)

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