Dish Dogs (1999) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

It's pretty hard to mess up coming of age comedies aimed at the summer college-age market. Nobody expects them to be that good to begin with, so all you have to do is keep the mood light and the breasts bare.

OOPS! Dish Dogs seems to have missed one of the essentials. It takes itself seriously. Its surfer boys aren't fun lovin' stoners, but budding philosophers who are trying to pare away all the inessentials in their lives so that they can concentrate on having their epiphany. So they surf only for the intrinsic zen value, and they wash dishes because it is the simplest, least demanding thing they can do, allowing them plenty of time to think.

So they even turn down hot babes and good jobs because babes and money distract a man from his life's quest.


There's only one sin in the coming of age comedy market - boredom. And this has altogether too much of it. I guess it really isn't possible for a movie in this genre to be pretentious, but this movie comes close, with at least 15 quotes from famous philosophers. It's the Road House of surfer flicks. It takes itself so seriously that it has commentary on the DVD. Commentary? About a 96 minute Matthew Lillard movie that never got released? Oh, come now.

Say, here's a tip for you youngsters. If you want to make a comedy - it will really help if you try making it funny. Just food for thought.

Having said all that, I need to point out that there is a very good reason to rent this movie. That reason is Shannon Elizabeth. If you don't recognize the name, you'll remember her as Nadia, the gorgeous Eastern European babe whose nudity was broadcast over the internet in American Pie. In this movie she was a little younger and fresher, and she still had the curve in her nose and her unenhanced bosom. And she looks even better here than she did in American Pie. Plus, freed from the responsibility of her inept Pie accent, she was able to act as herself, and that self is very charming. She doesn't need to play Lady Macbeth in this film, and she has an electrifying smile.

Now here is a summary of the plusses:

  • Shannon Elizabeth works as a stripper in the film, and her entire routine is shown on camera. (She kept the bottom on, but it was a thong, and there were rear shots.)
  • Shannon Elizabeth is topless some more in the deleted scenes, trying on bras in a changing room, and asking for an evaluation of each.
  • There is also a music video on the DVD, and Shannon Elizabeth is also topless in that, with at least two more camera set-ups not used in the movie.
  • Shannon Elizabeth also spends much of the music video playing frisbee on the beach in a bikini, which is not as good as Shannon playing naked, but is better than any other human activity involving frisbees.

Now, those are some pretty strong plusses. In fact, I think all movies should feature a couple minutes of her naked. On The Waterfront, The Seventh Seal, The Muppet Movie, Battleship Potemkin - pretty much anything could be improved by Shannon's body.

On the negative side, it includes two of the all-time lowlights in the history of cinema:

  • Matthew Lillard sings an entire song. I can't describe how bad this is. He makes Shatner sound like Ezio Pinza.

  • Brian Dennehy wears a skin tight wet suit. Now that's entertainment.

Consensus rating: a hair under 2 stars. 43 from Apollo. 64 from Apollo members.

IMDB summary: 4.9 out of 10. Yes, that is a fair assessment of the movie, if one ignores the extra five points that I added for Shannon's body.

DVD info from Amazon. As I pointed out above, the DVD includes tons of extra features. They all stink, but there are tons of them, and many include pictures of Shannon Elizabeth naked, discussions of Shannon Elizabeth nudity, songs about Shannon Elizabeth naked, and proposals for world peace centering around all mankinds' mutual admiration for Shannon Elizabeth nudity.

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