The film career of stand-up comedian and MTV personality Pauly Shore burned briefly but brightly. After reinventing himself as a sort of horny, non-threatening hippie goofball comic and star of his own MTV show, Totally Pauly, in the early '90s, Shore made the leap to film as Sean Astin's sidekick in the caveman comedy Encino Man in 1992. Over the next four years, Shore averaged one starring vehicle a year: Son-in-Law, In the Army Now, Jury Duty. A new Pauly Shore movie became as dependable as the changing of the seasons, but provided diminishing returns. He peaked at Son-in-Law, the least bad of his movies, and by 1996 Hollywood was already showing him the door. Though he would continue to play supporting roles in projects and make his own independent films, Bio-Dome is the death rattle of his theatrical career.
Bio-Dome has a number of distinctions to its name. It is the lowest-grossing Pauly Shore comedy to be released in theaters. It is the first Pauly Shore movie to co-star Stephen Baldwin, an actor destined to be remembered more for his political and religious views than for any particular talent. It features one of the earliest performances by Rose McGowan, as well as the first time folk-trash duo Tenacious D showed up in a movie (ten years later, they would be headlining their own feature). Its villain is played by William Atherton, who turned down the Michael Rooker role in Mallrats because the movie was too juvenile or stupid and then agreed to be in Bio-Dome less than a year later. It stars Joey Lauren Adams, who was in Mallrats. There are a few Mallrats connections is what I'm getting at.
Bio-Dome is a profoundly unfunny movie. I would suggest that this is because the jokes don't work, but I'm really not sure there are jokes. Maybe the central conceit is funny -- that the two main characters don't take science seriously. It's about time someone stuck it to those bookworms, right? I would be hard pressed to determine what the actual jokes are. There is a scene in which Stephen Baldwin is trying to keep the other scientists inside the Bio-Dome so he swallows the key to get out (because a billion dollar scientific operation is at the mercy of a hardware store key). One of the scientists insists he return the key, so he turns around as if he is going to poo it out. That is the joke. That he might poo. He doesn't of course, so we are asked to laugh at the sight of his butt pressed up against some glass, not pooing.
Bio-Dome is also one of the most aggressively mid-'90s artifacts ever created, from the clothing to the lame power punk that makes up the soundtrack to the constant appearance of Joey Lauren Adams' midriff. Director Jason Bloom's greatest influences appear to be Slim Jim commercials and Mountain Dew commercials. There's some almost offensive about certain studio comedies of the '90s, which seem to think that the audience at which they are targeted will be happy with a bunch of "attitude." They are Poochie movies.
Blu-ray release date: April 21, 2015
DTS HD 2.0 Master Audio (English)