September 10, 2004

Intern Academy

Directed by Dave Thomas Starring Peter Oldring, Pat Kelly, Dave Foley and Dan Aykroyd

Reviewed by Martin Tsai

Intern Academy offers viewers a new appreciation for the TV series Scrubs. Both revolve around the misadventures of hospital interns/residents, but that's where the similarity ends. This film gives you an idea what the sitcom would be like if everything went horribly wrong. Not only does it lack the engaging plots, likable characters and zany silliness that make Scrubs a success, Intern Academy alternates between the embarrassingly unfunny and the repulsively crude throughout.

Within its opening minutes, Academy already resorts to such lowbrow humour as a plastic doll stuck in a patient's rectum. It continues to scrape the bottom of the bedpan with more mind-numbing gags involving body fluids and waste products, gratuitous nudity and the obligatory strippers. The film is shamelessly sexist, and eventually turns even its most uptight female characters into total whores.

As if the juvenile humour isn't offensive enough, it ups the ante with blood and guts. There are some messy surgeries - including one in which the surgeon vomits into the incision opening - plus a fight with characters throwing organs at each other. Unfortunately this isn't a Takashi Miike film, so all the gore elicits more cringes than laughs. Equally unpleasant is Matt Frewer's Jim Carrey impersonation as a knife-happy surgical instructor.

Aside from its tasteless sense of humour, the film has plenty of unintentional logistical gaffes. For starters, the characters are still learning pre-med basics in a classroom despite the fact they are already hospital interns. Plus, nobody ever wears a surgical mask during the operations here. Moreover, a doctor in the film has just performed open-heart surgery but immediately tells the patient's family that his office will call to schedule a follow-up, when in reality the patient would recuperate in the hospital. This lack of attention to detail reflects the filmmaker's laziness.

Writer/director Dave Thomas (of SCTV fame) provides a series of situational skits complete with amateurish shot/reverse-shot filmmaking in the total absence of an intelligible storyline. All of the characters are merely plot devices, and they fail to register even by the film's end. The climax-if you can even call it such-is so inconsequential, that it only serves to give the viewers a sense of relief knowing this mess is nearly over. Thomas continues to dig deeper into his colostomy bag of tricks with a desperate gag reel during the credit sequence, but even that cannot resuscitate this incurable film.

Reprinted from WestEnder. © Copyright 2004 Martin Tsai. All rights reserved.