By Amy Nicholson
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Chris Packham
By Stephanie Zacharek
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By Inkoo Kang
By Alan Scherstuhl and Stephanie Zacharek
By Ciara LaVelle
Filmmaker Jason Bloom has nothing but the highest praise for the star of his first feature: Pauly Shore. On the basis of his award-winning student film, Irving ("a black comedy about a Jewish vampire"), Bloom was brought aboard a feature project called BioDome, a spoof inspired by Biosphere2.
"We planned it for two unknown actors ... but [the project] went away ... then Pauly Shore became attached to it, and he met with me, andsaid he'd keep me on as director." Bloom claims to consider Shore and costar Stephen Baldwin "consummate professionals, and very funny."
I've seen the picture, and Bloom--either in gratitude or prudence--is being generous.
Shore and Baldwin play a couple of layabout pals who stumble into a Biospherelike research enclosure while looking for a place to pee. Forced by the scientists to stay inside for the year, they wreak zany havoc on the pristine environment.
Let me make it clear where I'm coming from. I delight in Ren & Stimpy. I loved National Lampoon's Animal House. I'm a staunch defender of Beavis and Butthead as fine satire. Grubby gross-outs and juvenile anarchy are legitimate--even essential--forms of humor, in my book. Yet I found Shore's fart jokes and other slobby antics inBioDome extremely tedious because of the unearned preening smugness with which he executes them.
Shore actually seems to be regressing; his shtick and timing are more infantile here than they were in his earlier movies. It was possible to chuckle a little at Shore in Encino Man or In the Army Now. In BioDome, it's like watching documentary footage of someone who's never learned to master his sphincter.
Obviously, a terrific satire could be made about the Biospherians, probably without having to depart very far from the truth. But Bloom was able to do little aside from pointing the camera at Shore and Baldwin (Baldwin, it should be admitted, comes across a shade better than Shore).
Bloom does take some justifiable pride, however, in the resourcefulness with which he was able to create Biosphere-type sets on BioDome's lean budget: "We built a two-acre set over a lagoon on the Universal back lot, then moved parts of that set to Griffith Park." The BioDome exteriors were shot at "a sewage-treatment plant that's very high-tech." Taking a Pauly Shore production to a sewage-treatment plant suggests that Bloom's sanitary instincts are commendable.--M.V.Moorhead
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