|Meet the Deedles
1998 - PG - 93 Mins.
|Director: Steve Boyum
|Producer: Aaron Meyerson, Dale Pollock
|Written By: Dale Pollock, James Herzfeld
|Starring: Steve Van Wormer, Paul Walker, A.J. Langer, John Ashton, Dennis Hopper
|Review by: John Ulmer
"Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" had a certain charm to it. A wit if you will. It chronicled the lives of deep, yet shallow-acting characters. They were entertaining to see on screen; the situations they got into even more so. But alas, there is none of this obvious humor in the most heinous rip-off of Bill and Ted to this day, "Meet the Deedles."
IQ = 2
"Meet the Deedles" was a movie made for one reason, and one reason only: To cash in on a once-was film franchise. Bill and Ted's two adventures were time-pieces; a look into the eighties. But one can see why this technique failed in the sequel, "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey," because by then (1991) audiences had grown weary of eighties teenagers in heinous situations. Film companies should have learned then that while Bill and Ted were once good, and always will be, MORE of the same kind is tiring. They tried a lot of films in the same tradition, but they all flopped. ("Bio Dome".)
The original is the only thing worth seeing again; not sequels or rip-offs, because their time has passed. But "Meet the Deedles" ignores this and gives the audience something about ten years too late for its own good. The movie's only true ambition is to create mindless slapstick and generate a series in the tradition of the ``Bill & Ted'' movies. It really does neither.
The story involves twin brothers Stew and Phil Deedle (Steve Van Wormer and Paul Walker), slackers from Hawaii who find themselves in the middle of a fiendish plot to sabotage Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.
One day Stew and Phil are hanging beneath a balloon being towed above the Hawaiian surf, while being pursued by a truant officer on a Jet Ski. When they reach ground, their millionaire father (Eric Braeden) realizes he must put a plan of his own into action: Send the two surf-bums to Camp Broken Spirit, a monthlong experience in outdoor living that will turn them into men.
Through a series of truly mind-numbing and brain-tumbling actions, the Twin Deedle Dudes, who may as well be referred to as Bill and Ted, are mistaken for park ranger recruits upon their arrival at camp. They come under the command of Ranger Pine (John Ashton), and stumble onto the solution to a mysterious infestation of prairie dogs.
Prairie dogs. My, oh my. Praire dogs. Where do I start? Perhaps I'll tell you why millions of them are scurrying about. It's quite simple, really. Too simple.
An evil former ranger named Slater (Dennis Hopper) has trained them to burrow out a cavern around Old Faithful, allowing him to redirect the geyser's boiling waters in the direction of New Faithful, to which he plans to sell tickets. A whole lot of work when he could just use some machinery to re-route the water. But that would be too basic for a film as stupid and mindless as this. No, Slater as to have prairie dogs chew around the geyser. Truly awful.
Hopper lives in his underground cavern, along with his sidekick Nemo, played by Robert Englund, Freddy of the ``Nightmare on Elm Street'' pictures. At one point he explains how he trained the prairie dogs, and I quote, ``Inject kibble into the dirt, and a-tunneling they would go.'' I never thought I would ever hear Dennis Hopper say such a thing. But he did, and I am forever scarred.
While he schemes, the Deedles fumble and bumble their way through ranger training. None of these scenes are remotely funny, nor hilarious as they should have been.
Yet with all this criticism, "Meet the Deedles" is also kind of fun to watch. It's so lousy that it almost comes off as original. It's worth seeing alone just for Dennis Hopper's crazy line I mentioned above. But I would not recommend you go out and rent the film; rather, wait until it is on TV.
I am split between my outlook on "Meet the Deedles." It is certainly one of the worst films I have ever seen, but it is not unwatchably bad like other bad children's flicks. I saw a TV-film two years ago named "P.U.N.K.S.", and while the lousiness of it is much on the same level as "Meet the Deedles," its watchability (yes, I made up that word) differs. "Meet the Deedles" is just awful. "P.U.N.K.S." is even worse.
Only watch "Meet the Deedles" if there's nothing on TV. But I don't recommend it to you as a good film, but rather an awful one. See it and witness pure stinkiness on film.
Whatever it tried to steal from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" is not apparent. Whatever was stolen was not stolen properly.