Bio-Dome

Bio-Dome. Weasel Productions 1996.

Before watching the movie:

Every now and then, comedians get famous for being annoying, and even though no one will admit to liking annoying comics, they seem to stay far longer than their welcome. From what I recall, I wouldn’t consider Pauly Shore the worst offender, but he’s certainly one of the most infamous. For my own taste, I can tolerate annoying humor fine, it’s just not my favorite. It’s awkward comedy that I can’t stand.

Anyway, I think that Shore and Baldwin are normies accidentally sealed into the dome with the scientists here, rather than frustratingly eccentric but indispensable like the character in Rocket Man. I can’t really picture a Baldwin brother being annoying, but that seems to be what’s about to happen.

After watching the movie:

Bud and Stubs are stoners, best friends, and roommates. After staging an injury to get out of going to an Earth Day trash pickup with their girlfriends, Monique and Jen get back at them by luring them out to a dry lake in the desert with a story of being picked up by some cute swimmers. While out in the middle of nowhere, Bud and Doyle need to stop for a restroom, and arrive at what they believe is the grand opening of a new mall. The complex is actually the Bio-Dome, an ambitious self-contained ecosystem that is about to begin a one-year experiment with a team of scientists sealed inside. Bud and Doyle slip past security, and end up sealed inside with Dr. Faulkner’s scientists, endangering the balance of the experiment, and the sanity of the research team.

I’ve heard that this movie is infamously bad, but such claims are usually hyperbole. Nevertheless, until the guys are forced to shape up, their behavior made me regret my choice. Usually when characters are comically annoying, they grate on the ones they’re a foil for more than the audience, but the other characters aren’t the focus here, these Bill and Ted ripoffs with Dumb and Dumber’s IQ inflict their total lack of charm directly on the audience.

Once the movie stops focusing on what idiots the boys are for hypothetical laughs and gets on with the plot, the environmentalist theme allows it to criticize how empty the contemporary “save the planet” buzz is and also ends up demonstrating what it really means to care about fixing human abuse of the environment. It’s pretty heavy-handed and the current concept of protecting the ecosystem has moved on, but it very effectively turns the idea of the Bio-Dome being a microcosm for Earth on its head, even if the idea of the computer being able to measure the nebulous “homeostasis” of the ecosystem is a little underdeveloped..

This could have avoided being such a disaster if it hadn’t focused on building up the central characters’ uselessness as its key source of comedy. It’s possible that even that could have been saved with a better sense of humor, but if the audience can tolerate it through the first act, it improves to the point of being passable. However, if a vehicle’s showcase fails, the vehicle is a failure, and that’s the real issue here. It’s a fair story with a bad comedic showcase.

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