One of the central jokes at the heart of Tour de Pharmacy focuses on Lance Armstrong, the tarnished former cyclist who infamously lost the world’s respect after it was revealed he was doping the entire time during his inspirational post-cancer struggle. Armstrong sits, lurking in the shadows, answering questions anonymously until a light shines on him, revealing his face. It’s an authentically hilarious moment, a shocking yet welcome guffaw that brings Tour de Pharmacy a completely unexpected but totally needed comedic edge.
But then, something terrible happens. It goes back to Armstrong and does the same joke over again. And later on, it happens again. And just when we think its been milked bone dry, they go back AGAIN. Its the film equivalent of having a friend at a party tell you a really funny joke that you laugh at, and then to capitalize on the fact they made you laugh, try to tell you the same joke at several other points in the night, completely negating the joy you got from the humor in the first place. The Armstrong thing starts of fresh but becomes totally obnoxious, like Andy Samberg and crew were not expecting Armstrong to say yes to participating, and after he did, they had to milk every single second he was on screen.
The Armstrong thing is obnoxious and disappointing and really sets the tone for Tour de Pharmacy, a strong idea with strong talent that could have been something really great but just falls flat on its ambition to be funny. No character is memorable, no single joke stands out and no line is immediately quotable. Some parts are very funny, but its a concept that would have been better executed as a 1-2 minute chunk of a show at The Groundlings than an HBO short film.