I find it nothing short of astounding that David Ward, who won a screenwriting Academy Award for "The Sting," is the same guy who wrote and directed "King Ralph." A good brain surgeon should cut open Ward's head and see what the hell's wrong with him. I thought when screenwriters come up limp with movies like "King Ralph," studio executives take them out behind the sound stage and shoot them or sodomize them or something. Maybe I'm thinking of horses. Either way, with the release of his latest fiasco, "Down Periscope," it's clear that David Ward should be put out to pasture.
"Down Periscope" is just an excuse for a popular television star (Kelsey Grammer) to rip off the public more directly. Since Ward is prolific in the beating of a dead screenplay, this film might easily be described as "King Ralph on a Submarine" or "Major League on a Submarine." You know the story: A misfit or group of misfits overcomes their misfitedness to achieve in the modern world. How many movies have we seen with this exact theme taking place in the armed forces, on a police squad or on a basketball court, football field, hockey rink or baseball diamond? Answer: about a billion.
Ward's final gift to us is to use The Village People, who sing "In the Navy" at the end of the film. It's bad enough that Ward has to stab us (repeatedly, I might add) but does he have to twist the knife too?
After the film was over I walked to the concessions stand in a haze and asked for a Fresca and some Pop Rocks whereupon a yuppie, similarly traumatized by the film, had an acid flashback and tried to kill me. This film is not just bad; it's dangerous.
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