MOVIE REVIEW : Pair of Slacker Buddies Get Stuck in ‘Bio-Dome’


Is film an art form? After 100 years, there seems to be little doubt. Is Homo sapiens an intelligent life form? The answer is less conclusive, but after tens of thousands of years there’s at least some reason to think so.

Watching “Bio-Dome,” however, will convince you that both theories are irredeemably flawed.

Based on a story by Adam Leff, Mitchell Peck and Jason Blumenthal, scripted by Kip Koenig and Steve Marcano, directed by first-timer Jason Bloom and starring Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin as a pair of cretins stuck in an artificial ecology called Bio-Dome, the film was clearly too labor-intensive to make sense. And making sense, of course, is what it tries to avoid at all costs.


“Bio-Dome” is a film that treats environmentalism as the last refuge of weenies, relies on flatulence and chewed food for comedic depth and uses cameos by Roger Clinton and Patty Hearst for gravitas. None of this is particularly surprising, given the success of the Jim Carrey films or any of the other features based on imbeciles. But it still seems necessary to point it out and wonder.

As Bud and Doyle, slacker buddies and “Generation X road kill,” Shore and Baldwin are in a “Dumb and Dumber” knockoff that lacks wit but is top-heavy with sexual innuendo and substance abuse (one scene involves the brandishing of hypodermics and a massive ingestion of nitrous oxide). When their girlfriends, Monique and Jen (Joey Adams and Teresa Hill), become concerned with the ecology (these women should be so concerned about their lack of judgment), Bud and Doyle fake it--they’d rather sit around the house biting each other’s toenails. But when they do go out and get lost looking for a place for Doyle to relieve himself, they wander into Bio-Dome just as the doors are about to be sealed for a yearlong research experiment. The chicks are impressed.

Despite the advances humankind has made since dragging itself out of the primordial ooze, Shore is a successful comedian. You have to feel sorry for him, though. He seems convinced that the antics of his retarded persona amount to some manner of postmodernist anti-comedy and this makes the resultant boredom seem all the more pathetic. What he and Baldwin do inside the Bio-Dome is what a 5-year-old does when he’s trying desperately to get attention. If you think this is funny, you don’t know any 5-year-olds.

Bio-Dome is staffed by top-flight scientists including Dr. Noah Faulkner (William Atherton), who’s simply too uptight to appreciate just how droll his unwanted guests can be. But his supposedly brilliant colleagues, Mimi Simkins (Dara Tomanovich) and Petra Von Kant (Kylie Minogue), respond to Bud and Doyle, which is one of the more insulting aspects of this film.

* MPAA rating: PG-13, for crude language, sex-related material and some drug content. Times guidelines: In addition to bad taste, hypodermic needles and nitrous oxide use may be offensive or troubling to some viewers.



Bud Macintosh: Pauly Shore

Doyle Johnson: Stephen Baldwin

Dr. Faulkner: William Atherton

Monique: Joey Adams

Jen: Teresa Hill

Mimi Simkins: Dara Tomanovich

Petra von Kant: Kylie Minogue

T. C. Romulus: Kevin West

A Motion Picture Corp. of America production, released by MGM. Director Jason Bloom. Producers Brad Krevoy, Steve Stabler, Brad Jenkel. Screenplay by Kip Koenig and Scott Marcano. Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael. Editor Christopher Greenbury. Costumes Mary Claire Hannan. Music Andrew Gross. Production design Michael Johnston. Art directors Don Diers, Carl Stensel. Set Designer Kristen Pratt. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes.


* In general release throughout Southern California.