Veterinary technician Corky Romano (Chris Kattan) having been banished from his family after the death of his mother, is unaware of their underworld connections until he receives a call from his father, "Pops" (Peter Falk), a Mafia crime lord. Pops has been indicted on racketeering charges, and, knowing that the prosecutors have a strong case against him, has concluded that the only solution is to somehow destroy the evidence held by the FBI.
At the family mansion, an ailing and bedridden Pops convinces Corky to infiltrate the local FBI office, since the Romano family cannot send anyone with known underworld connections, such as Corky's brothers Paulie (Peter Berg) and Peter (Chris Penn).
With the aid of a computer hacker, Corky is able to obtain a false name ("Agent Corky Pissant pronounced 'peesohn'...It's, you know, French!"), background, and résumé. He gains access to the local FBI office, where he discovers from office chief Howard Schuster that, according to his résumé, "Pissant" graduated from Harvard, can speak five different languages, is an expert sharpshooter and has a black belt in the martial art "yan mu kwan."
Corky makes several trips to the FBI office's evidence room, only to be sidetracked each time. He is sent on investigations and raids, most of which have nothing to do with his father's case. Corky finds himself on a mission to infiltrate a neo-Nazi skinhead group related to the Night Vulture, a heroin trafficker who is number six on the FBI's Most Wanted List. Corky approaches the gang members, who promptly rip off the Britney Spears tank top he is wearing as a disguise, and take him to a warehouse. Every Mafia member, including Paulie and Peter, are listening in through a microphone that was earlier taped to Corky's crotch. They go to the warehouse, beat up all the gang members, and leave. When the FBI arrives, they assume that Corky has handled the skinheads singlehandedly. He receives praise at the office and in the local media, though one agent, Agent Brick Davis (Matthew Glave) appears both jealous and suspicious of him.
Corky attends a hostage situation involving a Night Vulture suspect. FBI director Howard Schuster (Richard Roundtree) hands Corky a machine gun and orders him to kill the suspect. When Corky fires, the trigger gets stuck, spraying bullets everywhere. One of them hits a propane tank, causing it to explode, which knocks the suspect off his feet. Agents rush in and arrest the suspect, and it transpires that his gun was a fake. Schuster sends Corky to put the suspect in jail.
On the trip back to the FBI office, Corky locks himself out of the car and the suspect kicks out the metal divider between the front and back seats. The divider jams the gas pedal to the floor, sending the car weaving wildly through city streets. Corky's arm is stuck in the window the whole time. Later, the car crashes into Paulie and Peter. Davis and other agents arrive and proceed to arrest Paulie and Peter, citing photographic equipment in the backseat of their car (the family mansion was already under watch by the FBI). However, Corky steps in to handle the situation. He farts in the faces of his brothers, and tells them to leave.
Corky grows to like FBI agent Kate Russo (Vinessa Shaw), but she seems uninterested until they bump into each other at the Romano mansion where Russo has been sent undercover to collect more evidence against the Romanos. Corky is able to convince Russo that he, too, is working undercover.
Corky is sent to infiltrate a drug deal in Chinatown posing as a translator (the agency believes that he can speak Vietnamese and Thai). Corky attempts to translate, but ends up saying nonsense phrases such as "fool" and "hairy pencil". The participating drug lords draw their guns and begin shooting in frustration. Corky's new FBI partners, agents Bob Cox (Roger Fan) and Terrence Darnell (Dave Sheridan), engage in a shootout with one of them while the other escapes.
Cox and Darnell are captured while trying to infiltrate one of Pops' underground casinos. Corky comes to the rescue, but is caught by the bouncers and has his head placed in a paint shaker. When it is discovered that he is a member of the Romano family, and the bouncers ask how they can make it up to Corky, he says, "Maybe I can take some of my friends with me?".
Corky eventually gets the evidence, and discovers that his father will be facing murder charges. Shocked, he tells Pops, who vehemently denies killing anyone. Meanwhile, Russo discovers that Corky is a member of the Romano family and not an FBI agent. The entire FBI office conducts a raid on the Romano mansion, where it is discovered that family friend Leo Corrigan (Fred Ward) is an FBI informant and has been lying about the family's activities, including the alleged murder. It is also discovered that Brick Davis is in fact the Night Vulture. Leo is knocked out by Corky with a light fixture, and Davis is arrested by his fellow FBI agents. In the end, Corky and Agent Russo get married and drive off in Corky's car, a bright yellow Mazda Miata. Corky also gains the respect and love of his entire family.
The peculiar nickname "Corky" is alleged to be taken from real life New Jersey mobster Gaetano Vastola whose nickname among the mafia ranks as a street soldier was "Corky". Gaetano is also believed to have been the model for the fictional character in The Sopranos, Hesh Rabkin (played by Jerry Adler).Chris Kattan as Corky Romano
Vinessa Shaw as Agent Kate Russo
Peter Falk as Francis A. "Pops" Romano
Peter Berg as Paulie Romano
Chris Penn as Peter Romano
Fred Ward as Leo Corrigan
Matthew Glave as Agent Brick Davis
Richard Roundtree as Howard Shuster
Roger Fan as Agent Bob Cox
Dave Sheridan as Agent Terrence Darnell
Michael Massee as Angry Gunman
Vincent Pastore as Tony
Zach Galifianakis as Computer Hacker Dexter
Corky Romano was panned by critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 6% rating based on 83 reviews with the consensus stating: "Corky Romano continues the trend of bad movies featuring SNL members. The jokes are tired and unfunny, and the slapstick feels forced."
Overall, the movie was a commercial success for producer Robert Simonds, earning back its $11 million budget against $24,400,000 domestically. Corky Romano was released on VHS and DVD on May 14, 2002.