Plot: Mitch (Norm MacDonald) has been lifelong friends with Sam (Artie Lange) and while the two haven’t amounted to much, they’ve always had fun and gotten into a lot of trouble together. But now Sam’s dad Pops (Jack Warden) needs a heart transplant or he will die, so the boys have to earn fifty grand and fast, to pay off a gambling addicted doctor to perform the procedure. As neither has any real skills, they try all kinds of side jobs to make quick cash, but can’t seem to make any of them work, until Mitch has a big idea. The two love to cause mischief and get back at their enemies, so they open a revenge for hire business. A client comes in, the boys seek vengeance on the client’s target, then they collect a fee. All seems to be going well, but the cash simply isn’t coming in fast enough, which drives Mitch to take on bigger jobs, including one that targets the area’s richest socialite. Now that Mitch and Sam have powerful enemies, can they ever raise the needed funds and save Pops?
Entertainment Value: This one tanked in theaters, thanks to some studio tinkering that sapped a lot of the edge from the humor, but I still think Dirty Work is a wild, absurd comedic gem. Of course, I love ridiculous, random humor, colorful characters, and outlandish dialogue, all of which this movie delivers in spades. Of course, this kind of humor is an acquired taste and I can easily see it being either baffling or offensive to some audiences. A good rule of thumb here is how you appreciate Norm MacDonald and his sense of humor, as he has the lead and a lot of the material reflects his style, for better or worse. I think he is hilarious, especially when paired with Artie Lange for a nice contrast, then thrown into situation after situation that allows him to show off his impeccable timing, which he does over and again. The cast is populated by colorful folks in smaller roles and cameos, such as Jack Warden, Don Rickles, Traylor Howard, Chevy Chase, Chris Farley, Christopher McDonald, and even Adam Sandler in a memorable, brief appearance as Satan. This is pure silliness and over the top humor, but for fans of absurd, colorful comedy and a kind of random, outlandish presence, Dirty Work is well worth a look.
No nakedness. I mean, we all know how badly old Norm was “disrespected” in prison, so the movie chooses to let him keep a little dignity. A lot of sex jokes of course, but hookers in bikinis is as close to sleaze as this one gets. No blood. This one has some comic style violence at times, but it is never graphic in the least. Just some punches or being thrown out of a window, so no call for the red stuff in this case. Who knows what the original R rated version of the movie contained, but the incarnation that was released is free from sleaze and bloodshed. I love the dialogue in this movie, as it is loaded with quotable, wild, and outlandish lines. I think almost every scene at least one big lines, perhaps even more in most cases. I can understand why some would find it overly random or just plain stupid, but it hits the right notes for me. Norm has a wealth of classic lines, but the memorable lines are spread around well. On the craziness scale, the sheer volume of wild, random moments earns a few points, but I wouldn’t call it an insane movie, just a nonsensical, super fun one.
Overall Insanity: 3/10