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How in the world does someone like Andrew Dice Clay become popular?

His on-stage persona - which I've never seen as different from his casual, talk-show persona - is repulsive. And his anti-social humor is remarkably unfunny.That said, if you feel differently and enjoy Clay's standup character, you'll probably enjoy "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" more than I did. Fairlane is just another name for Clay's patented offensive character.

The variation here is that Fairlane is a "rock 'n' roll detective," a Los Angeles private eye who specializes in cases related to the rock music industry.

The plotting is patterned after Philip Marlowe yarns, where the detective is hired by a mysterious woman, begins to pursue an innocuous case, becomes embroiled in a murder mystery and finds himself the target of monstrous thugs.

In this case, Fairlane is hired by a shock deejay (Gilbert Gottfried) who is promptly murdered, then hired again by a wealthy socialite (Priscilla Presley). The chief villain is a slimy record producer (Wayne Newton) and the object of Fairlane's search is a ditsy groupie named Zuzu Petals (Maddie Corman). Then there's Fairlane's strangely loyal secretary Jazz (Lauren Holly).

Clay swaggers through all this with his Elvis Presley haircut and sideburns, his James Dean leather jacket and his Brooklyn attitude. But he adds - though the screenplay is credited to three other writers - loads of one-liners aimed at insulting women, Australia, women, the rock music industry, women, homosexuals, women, rape, women - and women. He has a variety of disgusting terms for women but calls everyone else "snapperhead."

To help him along there's a young foul-mouthed kid who hangs around and imitates him (as if the kid in "RoboCop 2" wasn't role-model enough for one summer), a Cockney-accented giggling psycho killer (Robert Englund, who plays Freddy Krueger in the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies), a frustrated disco-singing cop (Ed O'Neill, TV's "Married . . . With Children") and a koala bear, which is obviously a puppet - and which is hanged by the bad guys.

There are also guest appearances by Sheila E., Tone-Loc and Vince Neil, Motley Crue.

But this is Clay's picture, obviously tailored to his so-called talents. It is, however, thuddingly unfunny and embarrassingly bad. Though directed by Renny Harlin, who did a remarkably sharp job with "Die Hard 2," "Ford Fairlane" is too dark, too snide and not at all clever. (Clay's idea of a smart comeback is a repeatedly used vulgar comment about oral sex.)

"The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" is easily the year's worst movie so far - and it's hard to imagine a worse one coming along in the next six months.

It is rated R for violence, sex, nudity, profanity and loads of vulgarity.