The Virginian-Pilot
                             THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT 
              Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: Monday, April 22, 1996                 TAG: 9604200055
TYPE: Movie Review 
                                             LENGTH: Medium:   59 lines


WHEN IT STARTS insulting the very sports fans who could be the primary ticketbuyers, you have to think that ``Celtic Pride'' was perhaps produced by a luge fan.

Not being any kind of Boston Celtics fan, I can tolerate, with some sympathy, the fact that the movie's two Celtics fans (played by Dan Aykroyd and Daniel Stern) are dim-witted idiots who revert to illegal acts including kidnapping. That's Hollywood for you.

On the other hand, basketball fans should probably resent this film more than they laugh at it.

``Celtic Pride'' does have a few funny moments. Daniel Stern plays a plumber heading for the divorce court because his wife can't stand his obsession with basketball. Stern has a naturally funny face and he's convincing as a kind of Everyguy slob who would skip work to go to the game.

He's better than Aykroyd, who is a mere comic. Stern may be a mugging actor, but he's still an actor.

The two attend the sixth game of the NBA championship series and are perplexed that the Utah Jazz win, tying up the series.

Posing as Utah fans, they find Lewis Scott, Utah's star shooter, in a bar and encourage him to get stinking drunk, thus taking him out of the big game. Somehow, the shooting star ends up bound and gagged in the Celticmaniacs lair. They didn't mean to kidnap him but they don't think the police will believe them. Might as well keep him captive until the game is over.

This is the basic idea, and it should be good enough. As written, though, the film does nothing with it except have the star escape and then get captured again until a frantic, over-the-top, finale.

The film is best in its little moments, such as when it reveals the superstitions and manias of the cheering section.

There are few such little moments, though. As directed by Tom DeCherchio, everything is broad, as if noise would substitute for wit.

Damon Wayans, who is best when he's manic, is saddled here with the more serious role as the victim who must berate and humiliate his oppressors.

In these scenes, the movie becomes mean-spirited. It pictures basketball fans as neurotic, near-psychotic beings who are more tragic than humorous.

``Celtic Pride'' is a basketball comedy the way ``Fatal Attraction'' was a dating movie. MEMO: MOVIE REVIEW

``Celtic Pride''

Cast: Damon Wayans, Daniel Stern, Dan Aykroyd, Gail O'Grady

Director: Tom DeCerchio

MPAA rating: PG-13 (language, cartoonish violence)

Mal's rating: two stars

Locations: Cinemark, Greenbrier 13, Chesapeake; Circle 4, Main Gate,

Norfolk; Kemps River Crossing, Lynnhaven Mall, Pembroke, Surf-n-Sand,

Virginia Beach. by CNB