Dirty Deeds (2005) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

There must be a fairly interesting story behind the distribution woes of Dirty Deeds, but I don't know what it is. I saw a theatrical trailer for it last year, and it must have been shown before one of the big comedies like Wedding Crashers or 40-Year-Old Virgin. This leads me to believe that there must have been a time when there were grand plans for a theatrical release of this film. By the time the film was ready to roll, those plans had been scaled down considerably. It never reached more than 64 theaters and topped out at $150,000 in ticket sales. What happened in between? That's the part I don't know.

What I do know is that Dirty Deeds is a raunchy teen comedy which came to a few theaters in a bowdlerized PG-13 version. This reminds me of something from my college days. There was a New York TV station that used to cut films to fit into a 90 minute programming gap in the afternoon. Allowing for commercials, that means the films actually had to be trimmed to about 70 minutes. This produced some wild results, the most memorable of which was their decision to broadcast Brigadoon without the songs. That seemed silly at the time, but doesn't seem much worse to me than a raunchy teen comedy without the raunch. I'm not sure why anybody would go to a pseudo-racy PG-13 movie, except maybe for devout Mormons with a secret wild streak, but I'm not surprised there was no audience for the film. The product will have a broader target market on home video because the unrated DVD version has been sexed up to the equivalent of a lively R, with breasts from three different girls, all of whom are exposed at some length while standing up in good light. There is a also a special feature on the DVD which basically consists of nothing but breasts - it is the outtakes and alternate takes of the nude scenes.

So it's got that goin' for it.

It also has the curiosity appeal of having been produced by a bunch of major league baseball players, with executive producer credits going to Todd Zeile and Jason Giambi.

The film itself is about one high school's annual tradition - a sort of extreme scavenger hunt held on the eve of homecoming. Each year, one student is allowed to attempt "the dirty deeds," a set of ten extreme challenges which, if completed, mean ... absolutely nothing, as far I can see, except bragging rights. Nobody has completed them in the past 15 years so they have acquired whispered and mythical status, but one freshman wants to give it a try to show his mettle, and to get the school bullies off his ass. The freshman's older sister asks her would-be boyfriend (Milo Ventimiglia) to talk her brother out of this foolishness, but the only way Milo can prevent the younger boy from attempting the deeds is to attempt them himself, because the official deed rules stipulate that upperclassmen take priority over freshmen when there are multiple volunteers.

It's completely predictable from there. Some of the bullies and authority figures try to stymie Milo, but he gets by with the help of the rebels, nerds, and druggies. The deeds themselves range from simple pranks and dares all the way to outrageous criminal behavior:  "steal a car worth more than $100,000," "place a dead body on the high school grounds," etc. According to IMDb, "The film is loosely based on events at Barrington High School in Rhode Island. The screenplay was created as part of student Jonathan Thies's senior project. Jon Land, a resident of the town of Barrington, mentored Thies and co-wrote the screenplay." It's obvious that it really was written by a high school kid. It's one of those movies with a good basic idea which made have been a good little comedy with better jokes, cleverer dialogue, and fewer stock characters and situations. There is an extended "little old lady farting" gag, for example, that is so juvenile it should obviously have been cut, but is still there in all of its embarrassing splendor.

There is nothing new here, and it's not a theatrical-quality movie even with the additional nudity, but it does have some retro 80s appeal. In fact, if you don't recognize any of the actors, you could very easily believe it to be a Golan-Globus film from the mid 80s. The very poor critical scores below apply to the PG-13 theatrical version, but the raunchy version would not have done much better with critics.



  • deleted scenes and bloopers
  • cast interviews
  • sizzling nudity outtakes
  • widescreen, anamorphically enhanced (16x9)



Lots, but the three topless women are all anonymous

The Critics Vote ...

  • James Berardinelli 1.5/4

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, the unrated version is a C-. With the additional nudity, it's a minimally acceptable genre film, with the genre being "raunchy teen comedies." I have not seen the PG-13 version, but I can't imagine any reason to watch a raunchy movie without the raunch, so it must be a D by our criteria.

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