Thursday 22 April 2010

Obscurity Files #3 - Bio-Dome

SLACKER Obscurity Files aims to put the spotlight onto a series of films that time and audiences have otherwise forgot. Today it's Bio-Dome.

More after the jump...

Arriving just after Pauly Shore's career peak, this 1996 stoner comedy is about two losers who get stuck in an environmental research habitat. Can Bud and Doyle survive a whole year without their usual Generation X luxuries?
Aiming to be a mid 90's Bill and Ted, and falling a bit short, anyone who has seen Pauly Shore's schtick in California (Encino) Man and Jury Duty will know what to expect. I'll admit it, i quite like Shore in California Man and consider that film to have held up fairly well, but this one unfortunately hasn't. A lot of that is down to Shore, who has always been better as a supporting player, being rather grating when he has to hold a film on his own. To be fair, he does have Stephen Baldwin for back up. How Baldwin didn't learn his lesson from this, going on to play the similarly simple Barney Rubble in the Flintstones sequel is beyond me.

Your enjoyment of this film will largely depend on how many toxins you have in your system. Bio-Dome has become a bit of a stoner classic, but that's rarely a sign of quality. If i was to pick out a few highlights of this film, a lot would be down to William Atherton. Hamming it up as a mulleted scientist, if this were set in a College, Baldwin and Shore would be the cool kids we're meant to relate to and Atherton would be the crusty old dean. Something must be wrong when you can relate to the bad guy more.

I also like the sequence where Atherton starts to crawl around the air-ducts like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. In an alternate universe with different casting, that version of Die Hard would have been pretty interesting. Bud and Doyle are his terrorists and he wants them out of his facility (as a nice touch he whistles Ode to Joy, the unofficial Die Hard theme). The environmental theme never is never really believable, and convincing hordes of Gen-Xers to love Mother Earth would be a hard enough job. These are not the two to do it.
UK audiences would probably appreciate this most for the rare cinematic appearance of Kylie Minogue, in a role she later described as her "worst career move". Ignorance is not an excuse Kylie.

Save From Obscurity? NO
Now let's all go plant a tree.

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