Dirty Work (1998) Jun 26, 2013 13:40:26 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jun 26, 2013 13:40:26 GMT -5
Artie Lange and Norm Macdonald.
Dirty Work isn't so much a film as a competition for "how many filthy jokes can we incorporate in a seventy-six minute film?" That kind of thesis for a comedy is almost always lethal because we get no opportunities for humanity or genuine laughs since the film constantly feels the dreary obligation to one-up itself. Here's a film that is so perfunctory and foreseeable in its setups and deliveries that I'd be convinced if the screenwriter and the director thought of this film over a coffee break and decided to carry out everything right then and there.
The film was directed by Bob Saget, who you'd know as the whitest, cleanest, and most supportive sitcom daddy in existence on the classic program Full House. Saget is famous for leading a life contradicting to his clean-persona on the show, often performing the filthiest, crassest standup you're likely to ever hear. For this reason, it is unsurprising his directorial effort plays much like his standup in terms of predictably raunchy material that lacks heart and craft.
The film follows Mitch Weaver (Norm Macdonald) and Sam McKenna (Artie Lange), two lifelong buddies who have gone their entire lives exacting revenge on people for the smallest offenses. They stage elaborate attacks on the people they can't stand in order to gain a small sense of satisfaction. When Sam's father (Jack Warden) has a heart attack and is in need of a heart transplant, the guys learn the doctor can get the man immediate attention if they pay off the doctor (Chevy Chase) $50,000 so that he can pay off his enormous gambling debt.
They decide to open a revenge business called "Dirty Work," which thrives off of people calling in and getting Mitch and Sam to exact revenge on people that make their callers tick. One of the reasons the film doesn't work is that the attacks are simple and, overall, underwhelming. With more intricate planning and craft, the payoffs for these offenses could've been rewarding and hilarious. Instead, they are childish and redundant.
It also doesn't help that Mitch and Sam are two of the most archetypal, cliche protagonists in any comedy I've ever seen. They're so thin, wooden, and void of personality they feel like robots programmed to do and say things that are allegedly funny. Macdonald and Lange are average comedic talents, and here, they can't do too much with the script (which was somehow the product of three people) that forbids and character or development from sneaking past the abundance of cliches and predictable plotlines.
Even so-called "late night comedies" and "stoner films" need to achieve some sort of quality and Dirty Work doesn't possess the characteristics of being memorable or creative enough to achieve them. It is an overly-silly, ridiculous film that gets even more ridiculous when it feels the need to allow plotlines like romance and fighting to elbow themselves into the picture. Saget may have craft when it comes to juggling personas, but he also shows that he has talent for making one of the most frustrating comedies of the nineties I have yet to see.
Starring: Norm Macdonald, Artie Lange, Jack Warden, and Chevy Chase. Directed by: Bob Saget.