Dirty Work

on June 12, 1998 by Christine James
Norm Macdonald's first starring vehicle is a lot like his former news segment on "Saturday Night Live": a hit-and-miss melange of genius and juvenilia. In this comedy, which he co-wrote, Macdonald plays Mitch, whose motto in life is to "never take crap from anybody." As a result, he and his lifelong best friend Sam (Artie Lange) have become masters at the art of revenge. The scenarios depicting the duo's nefarious talents are generally hilarious, from planting dead hookers in an obnoxious auto dealer's cars to playing a gay porno instead of the intended feature at a movie theatre to get back at an abusive surly boss (Don Rickles). Unable to hold down regular jobs, Mitch and Sam eventually realize that people would pay good money for the service they are only too happy to provide, and open Dirty Work Inc.
   From here, the laughs become more sporadic as the plot gets saddled with the sort of cliche villain you might find somewhere in the "Porky's" oeuvre. Though trite and tedious, said villain (played by the usually great and wholly exculpable Christopher McDonald) does, however, provide the opportunity for Mitch and Sam to get thrown in jail, leading to a brilliantly funny scene in which Mitch reprimands some fellow inmates who've just sodomized him by calmly but firmly admonishing them "You've lot of growing up to do."
   Fans of Macdonald's sly, deadpan sardonicism will be only partly satisfied, yearning for more of the `dirty deeds done cheap' and less of the B-movie-caliber story development. Starring Norm Macdonald, Artie Lange, Chevy Chase, Jack Warden and Christopher McDonald. Directed by Bob Saget. Written by Frank Sebastiano & Norm Macdonald & Fred Wolf. Produced by Robert Simonds. An MGM release. Rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor and language. Running time: 81 min.
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