The Wash

on November 16, 2001 by Tim Cogshell
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   "Car Wash" is the wonderful 1976 Michael Shultz film, written by a young Joel Schumacher (who'd previously worked as Woody Allen's production designer). The film stars Franklyn Ajaye, Ivan Dixon and Bill Duke, among others who would become notable in the industry, including Richard Pryor. It's one of the best examples of black cinematic comedy--Schumacher notwithstanding--that explored urban life and its challenges without being pointedly self-pitying (though it's a little didactic) or overtly buffonish (though it's also pretty silly). We mention it here because it is an infinitely more interesting film than "The Wash," which is in no way a remake or even a sequel to "Car Wash," though it does pay homage to (and attempt to ride on) that bit of classic African American cinema.

   Here, Sean (hip-hop maestro Dr. Dre) needs to pay the rent so, at the urging of friend Dee Loc (Snoop Dog of the recently released "Bones"), he gets a job at the local car wash owned by Mr. Washington (played by comic George Wallace). Unfortunately, he's hired as Dee's supervisor, and he really needs the job, so he may have to be serious about it. This, of course, leads to problems with Dee and the crew, who think Sean might be cutting into their side businesses and ladies' locker room action. Then Mr. Washington gets kidnapped and the movie is over. Just like that. Boom...movie over. Frankly, it's weird. Nevertheless, though "The Wash" is fairly funny, it's wholly insignificant. It has neither the pithiness nor raunchiness of "Car Wash," or, for that matter, the "Friday" series of films that director DJ Pooh co-wrote with Ice Cube. In short, "The Wash" is for the most part a wash, but it is a reminder of a better film that you can rent on home video, so it's not completely useless. Starring Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, George Wallace, Angell Conwell, Alex Thomas, Shawn Fonteno, DJ Pooh, Tom "Tiny" Lister Jr., Alex Thomas, Eminem and Shaquille O'Neal. Directed by DJ Pooh. Written by DJ Pooh and Dr. Dre. Produced by Phillip Atwell and DJ Pooh. A Universal release. Comedy. Rated R for pervasive language, drug use, some sexuality and violence. Running time: 95 min

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