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Movie Review

Don't Look for Good, Clean Fun


The world needs many things besides (but still including) that "love, sweet love" thing. The world needs poets rhetorically nimble enough to articulate the breadth of our anxieties and hopes. The world needs leaders who can guide us through the perils of this scary new world with wit and assurance. The world needs affordable neighborhood restaurants where the food warms the soul without skimping on the amenities.

What the world doesn't need is a remake of "Car Wash," especially when it's as moronic as "The Wash."

The original "Car Wash," from 1976, although not a classic, was openhearted and funny. It may have meandered too much, but what didn't meander in the 1970s? It had Richard Pryor, Franklin Ajaye and Garrett Morris. And best of all, it had Ivan Dixon in what may have been the most greatly underrated performance by this greatly underrated actor.

Whether writer-director DJ Pooh intended "The Wash" to be a homage to his memories of "Car Wash" isn't clear. What is clear is that the success of "Friday," which Pooh helped create, convinced him that there was a bottomless pit of patrons for slacker-stoner humor whose characters kicked back, got high and fired off deep blue jokes, most aimed at body parts below the waist.

Those patrons will probably show up for "The Wash." One suspects that even their indulgence will be severely tested. Oh, there are a couple of toilet jokes to tickle the undiscriminating palate, and some lamebrained antics to giggle at here and there. But Pooh forgot to include anyone in the movie to root for or even like very much--qualities that both "Car Wash" and "Friday" had in common. That's what made them worth imitating in the first place.

Dr. Dre is cast as Sean, a laid-off sneaker salesman who takes a job as manager of a car wash where his ne'er-do-well roommate Dee Loc (Snoop Dogg) works. The owner (George Wallace) is a pistol-packing tightwad whose bluster can't fend off death threats from a former employee or shakedowns by neighborhood knuckleheads.

The movie itself is a knucklehead operation, all glands and attitude with no heart or brains. Wallace, though no Ivan Dixon, gets a few good lines, and Snoop Dogg plays his morally suspect role with just enough wry ambivalence to indicate he might have tried to think his way through this calamity. So much for the bright side.

MPAA rating: R, for pervasive language, drug use, sexuality and violence. Times guidelines: too crude for children and younger teens.

'The Wash'

Dr. Dre...Sean

Snoop Dogg...Dee Loc

George Wallace...Mr. Washington

Angell Conwell...Antoinette

A Lions Gate Films and Lithium Entertainment presentation, released by Lions Gate. Writer-producer-director DJ Pooh. Producers Phillip Atwell, Kip Konwiser. Cinematographer Keith Smith. Editor Jack Hofstra. Costume designer Tracey White. Music Camara Kambon. Production designer Albert Cuellar. Art director Steve Ralph. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

In general release.

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