If you are looking for some really dumb movie about losers that you know how is going to end, look no further than Men at Work. The dynamic duo that consists of the Estevez brothers is constantly goofing around and making jokes. The humor is crude and a bit slapstick, but still entertaining. This is an unpretentious and easygoing comedy that will lighten your mood and brain. Charlie and Emilio had loads of fun during the shoot and you can feel that. There’s this palpable chemistry and energy about them that’s positively infectious. Their father, Martin played a garbageman some twenty years earlier in pretty fucked up thriller Badlands. I also have to mention hilarious Keith David as the old-school Vietnam vet who has a thing or he needs to teach these youngins. Which reminds me of another working man’s movie: They Live!
I have a question for you: when’s the last time you saw a movie about garbagemen? Wait, I apologize, when’s the last time you saw a movie about sanitary technicians? I would hazard to guess not for a long time if ever. Well, Men at Work is here to change that. It follows two garbagemen after they witness a murder. It sounds really easygoing and breezy, I know. Granted, the pacing is a bit off and the movie trails off in the last thirty minutes, but by that time you are already in love with our dynamic duo. Showing the true power of friendship, where you just need one more person to be happy and to do something, Man at Work is a movie for everybody. The dialogue is hilarious with many memorable lines.
Carl and James are two troublemakers who spend their days drinking beer and dreaming about opening their own surf shop. At the same time, they are also two garbagemen working a thankless minimal wage job. One night, while relaxing with a couple of beers at home, they hear some commotion in the apartment opposite of their building. What will happen next will change their lives forever and force them on the run from both the law and crime.
Men at Work also echoes all the important issues from the eighties where hazards of toxic waste spawned a number of superheroes and lawsuits. The beauty of this movie is the intention behind the effort, and that intention was honest and true so whatever the end result is, it’s something that you feel connected to. It’s a movie about ordinary men that doesn’t come off as fake or contrived. And that’s a rare thing nowadays. Everybody is trying too hard to capture this everyday vibe and failing miserably. After all this, I should warn you that this is not some masterpiece of filmmaking. So, don’t expect any wonders as the plot is pretty thin and some of the jokes don’t land. On the other hand, the atmosphere is easy as Sunday morning.
If you’re looking for similar movies check out Hot Shots!, Loaded Weapon, and The Naked Gun just to spice things up. Weekend at Bernie’s and Ace Ventura are also good choices. Finally, I have to tell you a secret I haven’t told anyone. When I was younger, I dreamed about becoming a garba, I mean sanitation worker. Their job seemed so easy to do and actually fun. Plus you get to ride on the back of that big truck, I mean what’s not to like there? Oh man, if we just lived in a world where you would get paid a decent wage for an honest day’s work, everything would be so much better. Until that happens, let’s drink some beer, smoke something, and watch movies like this. Enjoy.
Director: Emilio Estevez
Writer: Emilio Estevez
Cast: Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Leslie Hope, Keith David, Dean Cameron, John Getz
Fun Stuff: The Japanese garbage collectors’ union demanded that the film be banned from video shelves as it disparaged trash collectors, portraying them in a poor light.