I’ve said it before, but apparently some out there were not listening, so here I go again.
Disgusting is not the same as funny.
Now, please, pay attention this time, because I do not want to have to sit through another endlessly tediously mind-meltingly worthless and utterly predictable movie that is so hopeless it appears that even the cast lost interest long before the movie was over.
Disgusting can be funny. But it isn’t enough. If there was ever any question about that, this movie can serve as exhibit one for the prosecution.
It’s about waiters at a restaurant chain called Shenaniganz. Like the Smurfs, everyone in the cast has just one identifying characteristic. Naive new hire Mitch (John Francis Daley) is assigned to too-cool-to-take-anything-or-anyone-seriously Monty (Ryan Reynolds), which gives us chance to follow them around and meet everyone else. Dean (Justin Long) is feeling down because his high school classmate has graduated from college with a degree in electrical engineering. There’s one with anger management issues, one who is too shy to make a move on a girl (he has a shy bladder, too), a Yoda-esque dishwasher (Chi McBride) imparting wisdom, a couple of busboys who talk like rappers and huff whipped cream, and, of course, the foolish manager who enjoys petty power plays and doesn’t realize how lame it all is.
There is nothing in the characters or dialogue of any entertainment value whatsoever. The script covers something that cannot really be called a plot because it barely rises to the level of incidents. These moments attempt and fail to find humor in commiting various atrocities on food as revenge on rude customers, would-be wisecracks and insults that fall below the level of “I’m rubber, you’re glue” (except with four-letter words), and something I can only describe as an extensive discussion of and participation in a game that consists of the males flashing each other with a form of genital origami. This is the primary activity and interest of our merry little band.
The atrociousness is amplified rather than muffled by incompetent direction, so that even talented performers like Long, McBride, Luis Guzman, and Anna Faris look bored and embarrassed. Even the make-up is amateurish.
There are two points that take it from vile to virulent. First, the message that anyone who buys into traditional measures of success is a sucker or a loser comes across as juvenile instead of subversive. Second is the level of sophomoric homophobic humor, insufferably immature for anyone over the age of 12. Both shamefully reveal that the core audience intended for this film will not be the 17-and-ups its R-rating suggests but the DVD-renting middle schoolers who make the theatrical release of films like National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (also featuring Reynolds) a loss leader for the (often unrated) DVDs.
Those of any age who sit through to the end of the film hoping to find anything worth watching are doomed, like the cast, to waiting.
Parents should know that this is an extremely raunchy movie with near NC-17-level sexual references, language, and nudity. Just about every possible bodily function is included or described. Characters participate in a game that involves flashing their genitals at each other. Characters (including teenagers) drink, smoke, and use drugs. There are homophobic comments. The movie also features a lot of atrocious behavior, though, in fairness, I should point out that one character turns down the opportunity to have sex with another because she is under age (though he promises to take her up on it in a few days, after she turns 18).
Families who see this movie should talk about Dean’s response to the promotion offer and why people stay in jobs that don’t make them feel proud or engaged.
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the far better Office Space.