Films in general want to invoke an emotion in its audiences. Sometimes these emotions are intended, and when they work can take the viewer on an audio and visual ride through a new world. Other times the film may not invoke any emotions at all, leaving the viewer quite miffed. Films can however give off the wrong emotion, giving us hilariously “so bad, they are good” movies. This can backfire to and give us movies that are just plain bad. I wish I could say I had this kind of experience while watching the movie I am about to talk about, but instead the film welled up feelings of anger so fierce they had to be written down or be unleashed on the confines of my house. Now no body wants a trashed house (especially me and my wife as we just finished tidying!), so instead you have this article. This is not just a review, it is a warning to all you readers out there. DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE! In case you really need to know how this movie plays out, then below is a breakdown of how bad a piece of entertainment can really be. Welcome dear readers to Bio-Dome.
The movie starts of with an incredibly flashy, patchy and vomit inducing title scene with tons of random images and ripped up words flashing past your eyes every second. Many a fit must have been induced by this movie and I kept my eyes shut through the entire title scene (the music was good so I did not want to skip it!). We then move to the plot which is simple enough. Stoner slacker (losers) Bud and Doyle shoot down their girlfriends one time to many, when they get out of helping them in an environmental clean-up project. The girls decide some punishment is in order and prank them into thinking they are going on a hot date with someone else. The boys get in their car to find the girls, only to see what they think is a new mall opened up in the desert. What it actually is, is a Bio-Dome, which is about to close its doors for one full year, while a group of scientist test the environment and living conditions. Bud and Doyle, after taking a toilet break in the dome find themselves locked in with the scientists. The lead scientist behind the project believes that to let these two leave would jeopardise the experiment (and cut the movie short I guess) and so they stay. Thus ensues a variety of (supposedly) fun packed events, as the scientists try to incorporate the twosome into their events, while Doyle and Bud (as you can imagine) mess stuff up. After one mess up to many they are locked off from the group, but this only makes matters worse. Can the duo redeem themselves and become the eco warriors their partners have wanted them to be all along?
The answer is not really. The plot tries to make the duos antics funny and charming, but the things they do are incredibly destructive. Maybe I am just old, but that kind of behaviour makes the duo very hateable. For example in a stupid game of hide and seek they manage to unleash tons of rare butterfly species into the eco system and then use a sticky wall to catch them again, killing off the endangered creatures. Before that they pee in the water fall. They destroy crops for use in alcohol creation and actually turn into molesters, when they get in bed with the two female scientists and start fondling them up. Their antics cause the breakdown of a project that was not only meant to help mankind, but was also years in the making. They even add insult to injury by having a massive party there and defacing the scientists. Normally one of the scientists would be shown as been up to something slightly nefarious and Bud and Doyle would accidently find them out, but here it is the two of them who are the villains. Basically this film starts out saying that wanting to save the environment is not as much fun as trashing it. Then near the end it is almost as if the directors realised that this probably is not a very good message to give an audience, and then suddenly and very out of character the two try and restart the project showing the audience that the duo have become good guys. It does not work.
It may have helped if the pair did not seem quite so happy lusting over the two ladies scientists they are now living with and having so much fun in their destructive acts. They pretty much forget about their girlfriends for the most part and really just need each other for company. I think to be perfectly honest, if the scene involving shaving the dog is anything to go by, the duo would be quite happy with the warm embrace of each other. To say this is a stoner flick there is only one mention of the duo wanting to make weed and we never see them taking or even talking about taking the drug in the entire movie. Maybe it is not that strange though, because this is meant to be a comedy and it has no funny scenes in it either!
The main problem this film has (among its many faults) is its lead roles Bud and Doyle. Bud (played by Pauly Shore of Encino Man) and Doyle (Stephen Baldwin of Usual Suspects fame) are instantly unlikable. I know this is a stoner movie and the characters are meant to act all wacky and such, but never before have I seen such ineptitude in lead characters. They feel like a mix between Garth and Wayne (Waynes World) and Harry and Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber (the team behind Bio-Dome also worked on that movie). The problem is that Wayne and Garth were made likable by using a mix of dumbness, caring and general tom foolery and Harry and Lloyd were just so dumb they were fun. Bud and Doyle don’t have any of these qualities and so are hard to relate to, or even like. When Stephens’s acting is so bad you yearn for his Shark in Venice performance, then you know something is up. In the actors defence, it is hardly their fault that they have been given such awful characters to portray, maybe their problem is that they act out the roles to well!
Bud and Doyle dominate this film, but the movie has however managed to squeeze in some other characters to, because if they had not then there would have been no one to view their amusing antics. William Leaky plays the man who financed the Bio-Dome with Dr Noah and is made out to be a bit of a money lover. But aside from a few keys scenes involving flogging Bud and Doyle merchandise, he never really gets to do anything. In fact he only has about 10 minutes screen time and seems far too timid to actually be threating or interesting. It is a far cry from his awesome turn as creepy neighbour in The Burbs. Kylie Minogue pops up here as Dr Petra Von Kant, but she has the pleasure of basically just been lusted over by the boys and talking about how much fun it is to grow crops. She does have a fun scene with a carrot though if you want to get some kinky Kylie kicks! Neither of these characters have any real character development. Kylie should be lucky as te scientists get even less screen time. Fans of Joey Lauren Adams may be happy to know she pops up in a small role as Bud’s girlfriend. After seeing her in Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Big Daddy I like seeing her pop up in random movies, so on a personal level it was fun to see her. But she has very little to do other than call her fella a jerk and try to get him back on the right path.
But she is fun to watch as is William Atherton plays Dr Noah Faulkner. Known for his awesome roles as sleaze ball characters in movies like Ghostbusters and the first two Die Hard movies, it was strange to see him turn up as a good guy in this. His wig is simply incredible and its bouffant beauty is alas one of the only things interesting about his character. He is given the boring straight man role and has to suck in any creative flair he has to play the straight laced and very dull scientist. Even when the duos actions force him to have some kind of break down and turn him feral he is only slightly more interesting than he was at the start. The film wastes him!
Which is a good way to explain this movie, a waste of film. I know that’s kind of harsh, but it really is that bad. I had the misfortune of watching this and Film 43 in one day and my entire faith in the movie industry to entertain almost collapsed. I am on the road to recovery though so all is not lost. You know you are in trouble when one of the films highlights is the duo sniffing each other’s farts and guessing what the other person ate. So if that’s your cup of tea your quid’s in. Childish humour is great when done properly. I love the other films I have mentioned in this article and Jay and Silent Bob are some of my favourite stoners of all time so it is not an issue of its genre. More that Bud and Doyle are just too annoyingly bonkers for me to get any enjoyment out of their antics.
Bio-Dome (1996) is available on DVD (Region 2) from Amazon.co.uk; and if you decide to make a purchase after following this link you will have supported Attack From Planet B, so thank you.