The Wash

2001, Movie, R, 95 mins


Fat-ass fools and fine-ass hootchie mamas populate this shaggy, shapeless comedy set in and around a South Central Los Angeles car wash. Broke and unemployed, Sean (Dr. Dre) has no car — it's been booted — and no money to pay the rent, which is due in three days. His roommate, Dee Loc (Snoop Dogg), suggests that Sean talk to his boss, Mr. Washington (George Wallace), about getting a job at the rollicking Wash. Coincidentally, Mr. Washington has just fired an assistant manager, and Sean gets the job. This small taste of power immediately goes to his head: He turns into a relentless suck-up who lords it over the other employees, including sullen ex-convict Bear (Tiny Lister) and his wisecracking pal Jimmy (Alex Thomas); C-Money (Lamont Bentley), who pilfers from customers' cars; token chicano Juan (Demetrius Navarro); and, of course, Dee, who steals, has sex with his lady friends in the employee bathroom and deals pot on the lot. Mr. Washington is getting threatening phone calls from a disgruntled former employee (Eminem, uncredited) and later gets kidnapped by local homeboys Slim (D.J. Pooh) and Face (Shawn Fonteno), criminals so inept that they make the ransom demand from Slim's mother's phone and forget to block the caller-ID function. Dee, meanwhile, plots with his foxy girlfriends to take Sean down a few pegs. Conceived during the 1999-2000 "Up in Smoke" rap and hip-hop tour, whose line-up included writer-director D.J. Pooh and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, rap luminaries all, this series of skits about smoking dope, talking smart and getting one over on the boss is never as funny as it could be. The pacing is slack, the comedy has an oddly sour tone and frankly, no matter how hard the script tries to paint Sean as a petty martinet with a stick up his butt, it's hard not to sympathize with him: His fellow Wash workers are a shiftless bunch of cut-ups who mightily resent the suggestion that the bulk of their working days should actually be spent working. Overall, the film aims low and scarcely lives up to its own diminished expectations — revisit CAR WASH (1976) to see how funky, funny and slyly intelligent this movie could have been. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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