Reviewed by Gord Pratt
Rating: 8 Beans
n the realm of bad movies, I consider there to be two categories: Fun-Bad Movies and Bad-Bad movies. Fun-bad movies include cheeseballs like STARSHIP TROOPERS. Bad-bad movies are just plain painful, like MONEY TALKS.
DOWN PERISCOPE is bad-bad. Kelsey Grammer (TV's Frasier) plays a Lt. Cmdr. Tom Dodge who is promoted despite (or because of) his previous screwups. He is given a recommissioned, rotting, rusty diesel sub and the most down-and-out crew of losers you've ever seen. Kelsey and crew are ordered to attack an American harbor in simulated war games. If they succeed, congratulations and promotions will abound. You know what happens.
The underdog comedy formula is a familiar one, and makes for a painfully predictable film. Each of the crew members have some kind of "comedic flaw" which would have been more effective if they had actually been funny. The concepts of either comic timing or
subtlety are noticeably absent. Grammer, who has no problem drawing laughs on the small screen, chokes in the part of a rebellious naval officer. Rob Schneiders (TVs Men Behaving Badly) over-the-top constantly high-volume showing as Lt. Marty Pascal grates on the nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Oh yea, Lauren Holly (TURBULENCE) plays Lt. Emily Lake for no apparent reason. She is the first woman officer allowed to travel in a submarine, but its never explained why. Her whole existence in this film is inexplicable.
And while Ill asking questions, how did the crew manage to turn that rust-bucket into a shining, spotless peppy-sub in only two days? And they did an awfully good job of painting it considering it wasnt dry docked. And since when does the entire American Nuclear Submarine fleet worry about finding an archaic diesel sub? Does the American navy *always* blow up ships just to prove they reached the harbor? Dont sailors have to wear their uniforms all the time? Who thought we needed to see *another* underdog comedy?
DOWN PERISCOPE is not an underdog. Its just a dog.
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