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Laramie Movie Scope:
Men at Work

Garbage in, garbage out

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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October 9, 1990 -- ``Men at Work'' is a movie about garbage men and it fails to rise above its material. The stars of the movie, Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, certainly ought to have some chemistry together because they are brothers, but there are no sparks here at all. In fairness to the two actors, who have appeared in much better films, they don't have much to work with here.

After the two discover the body of a city councilman in an oil drum, they decide to investigate the murder themselves. Why not call in the police? Because Sheen had shot the man with a pellet gun before he was strangled by toxic waste dumpers. What?

Never mind. This is an idiot plot. It would never work if every character in the film, including the police, were total idiots. Estevez and Sheen pursue their investigation, breaking a number of laws along the way with absolute impunity. Estevez and Sheen play the parts of not overly bright garbage men who dream of opening a surfboard shop along the ocean. From their behavior in the movie, they'll never make it. Their characters are not remotely interesting. They show practically no intelligence and little character.

There are a few laughs in the movie, but not many. Most of the jokes miss the mark. The action sequences are also lame. The romantic interest in the film is not believable. There is only one moderately interesting performance in the film, that of a wacko garbage worker supervisor, but he can't carry the film alone.

This could have been a better film, a film about the kind of working class heroes that Americans love to root for. But there's no one to root for in this film. There's nothing for the audience to identify with. There are no heroes. This is the worst movie I have seen in a long time. On a scale of one to 10 it rates a two.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)