The JOE-DOWN Reviews ‘Bio-Dome’

This is an installment for a series on this blog where Joe Brown, Sports Editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle, and I have a back-and-forth review of a movie. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “Bio-Dome.”

The info:

The Movie: “Bio-Dome”

Starring: Pauly Shore, Stephen Baldwin, William Atherton

Director: Jason Bloom

Plot Summary: (From IMDB) Moronic best friends get themselves locked inside the Bio-Dome, a science experiment, along with a group of environmental scientists for one year.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 5 percent

Our take:

Brown: Admission time: In middle school, “Bio-Dome” was probably my favorite movie.

It was stupid. It featured one of the most reviled actors of all time in Pauly Shore. It featured a Baldwin that wasn’t Alec. And it was Gen-X garbage.

And yet, due to frequent viewings thanks to my cousin Tim, I loved it.

Having said that, it had probably been a decade since I saw the trouble that Bud and Doyle caused in that bubble.

Now that I’m a man, with bills and toys that sit on a shelf instead of being played with, I wanted to see if the joy I had in watching this terrible movie stood the test of time.

That, and we have not had a Pauly Shore movie yet on the JOE-DOWN. I think Froemming can agree: Like with Mel Gibson last week in “Lethal Weapon,” after two years of reviews, we were due some Pauly Shore.

So, I just admitted a skeleton in my closet. What was your previous experience with “Bio-Dome,” Froemming? You have any dark secrets to share?

Froemming: This is a first here at the JOE-DOWN. We are attempting to critique a flawless film.

Brown: That’s a BOLD statement. The only movie I’ll say is flawless is “Die Hard.”

Froemming: A statement so bold that I made it on Twitter and got both Shore and Baldwin to like my tweet about it.

I saw “Bio-Dome” on VHS when it came out. It was pretty much targeted at my age group then. You know, teenage slackers. This and “Mallrats” where my go-tos for dumb comedies in the 90s. They spoke to the lazy and snarky in me.

Has it aged well? Nope, and somehow that added more charm for me when I revisited this for this week’s JOE-DOWN.

Now, I am going to do “The Safety Dance” as you start this off.

Brown: The movie begins with a generic ‘90s punk song as the credits roll. After I get over the befuddling fact that pop star Kylie Minogue has a featured role in this film, we meet our heroes, Bud (Shore) and Doyle (Baldwin). You can tell they smell like feet and cheap record store incense. And we see them playing Rock, Paper, Scissors, which Bud wins and he’s allowed to blast Doyle in the face with one of the volumes of the encyclopedia.

A quick thing I have to say: I’ve mentioned before that I watch all these movies with closed-caption. And even the closed-caption barely knew what Pauly Shore would mumble about in this movie.

Now, why would stoner friend attack his other stoner friend like they were ECW’s New Jack? Because their girlfriends are coming over and the four are planning on cleaning garbage for Earth Day.

Froemming: Stoners never need a reason to do dumb things to one another. That’s just a universal fact.

Brown: Buckle up, folks, because this environmental message goes off the rails very, very fast.

The girlfriends are Monique (played by future Golden Globes nominated actress Joey Lauren Adams) and Jen (Teresa Hill, who gave up acting for interior design).

Now, it’s hard to describe how all these characters look, other than they are every Gen-X person you could think of. Hell, Stephen Baldwin was married with kids and it’s my hope that he went to his hotel room every night to his loving family with those tremendously awful white dude dreadlocks.

Froemming: The ‘90s were a weird time. I had red/blue/green/black hair within a two-year time frame.

Now, our heroes have been caught in a ruse by their significant others, and instead of owning up to it like a couple of hippie cowards, they double-down and stay home.

What do they do, you ask? Why, Doyle has Bud’s foot in his mouth and is biting his nails.

I can’t say for certain this was what happened, but I am pretty sure this was when Baldwin hit rock bottom and found religion. I know I would if I ever had Pauly Shore’s foot in my mouth.

Brown: It bugged me so damn much that these waste of space characters are not only in long-term relationships but these girls find them so attractive. Why are they attractive? Bud does yoga and according to Monique, “There’s something about a man who can lick his own back.”

Yeah, it probably means you’re dating a cat. Because that’s kind of disturbing from a human being.

To get back at the guys, Monique and Jen call them at the clean-up and claim they’re going to a party with a bunch of college swimmers, which sets off some sort of repressed anger out of Doyle. Some stories are best left untold.

They show up to where the party was supposed to go on, only it’s a dried-up lake. And then the movie does something I completely forgot about: “Bio-Dome” makes the first of many cutaway jokes like a (REDACTED) episode of “Family Guy.”

Only, they’re not as funny as some of the “Family Guy” cutaways are. Case in point: Doyle’s mom tried to commit infanticide by forcefully holding Bud’s head underwater back when the lake had water.

Froemming: Look, it is experiences like that which allow people on Facebook to list their education as “School of Hard Knocks.”

Brown: Life lesson for anyone out there: If you go on Tinder and education is listed as “The School of Hard Knocks,” swipe left.

Froemming: Our heroes are now on their journey to destiny. Heading back home, Doyle simply cannot cork it after downing what must have been 75 ounces of soda, and he needs to relieve himself.

So they go to what they think is a mall called Bio-Dome. Only there is a big celebration and media event and the security guard kicks them out when they try to enter the building.

Of course, this is a huge kick-off for a one-year experiment in which a bunch of nerdy scientists, along with two stunningly beautiful scientists, team up with Walter Peck from the EPA  Dr. Noah Faulkner to survive in a simulated environment without destroying themselves with pollution.

Brown: And you know right away Faulkner is going to be the bad guy of this movie, because he wears a scarf in the desert. Frankly, that makes him more monster than man.

Froemming: He also shut down the Ghostbusters’ ghost containment system, causing chaos in New York in 1984.

It’s true. This man has no (REDACTED).

Now, because Doyle simply cannot cork it, Bud decides to cause a distraction by tossing fireworks at the press conference, allowing them inside what they think is a very strange mall.

And of course, they beeline right to a waterfall, where Bud’s cola-laced urine puts toxins in the simulated rain forest. The homeostasis drops a part of a percentage, and this is immediately retconned the next day when Faulkner says they are at 100 percent.

Brown: OK, so in making notes for this movie, they say that Minogue’s character, Petra, is an oceanographer. Umm, of all the environments in the Bio-Dome, there is no ocean. So… What the (REDACTED) is Petra doing there, besides the obvious eye candy?

Froemming: Just because we didn’t see a simulated ocean doesn’t mean there wasn’t one. Or this was simply an odd oversight.

Brown: Wrong. When Faulkner gives Bud and Doyle a tour, he puts them on a platform that he says shows all the regions of the bio-dome.

The rainforest, tropical lagoon, the farm and the great desert.

No (REDACTED) ocean in there! Petra is not a potamologist (rivers) or limnologist (inland waters).

Froemming: I hate to say it, what with your new job and everything, but you are the #FakeNewsMedia.

Now, the Bio-Dome Five (yes, that’s what the scientists are called) enter the building for their year-long scientific experiment, only to find Bud and Doyle standing behind them waving at the crowd. And we see Dr. William Leaky, the man who put up the investment for this thing, suddenly throw off his doctor hat and put on his public relations hat, and tells the reporters that Bud and Doyle are surprise doctors to test the chaos theory.

Now, I am no legal expert, but I am guessing if Bud and Doyle wanted to leave, they would have to have opened the door and let them out.

But Bud and Doyle, despite their character flaws, are all-in on this year-long journey. Because their girlfriends tricked them. It is the perfect spite move in relationship history.

Brown: And the early days are… not going smoothly. Bud and Doyle are dense, they hate the food and there is no room for them. They have to sleep an entire year in a storage closet. As someone who can’t sleep anywhere that isn’t my own bed, this is hell and I’m calling lawyers to try and get me out since I didn’t sign any contract or anything to put into this dome.

And then, the movie gets really not woke. Because Bud and Doyle barge into Petra and Mimi’s beds and get handsy.

Great, we saw the #MeToo stories of two female scientists.

Froemming: First, I still use Doyle’s line when I eat something that tastes terrible: What is this kibble?

Second, given how their careers went, seeing both Shore and Baldwin sleeping in a storage closet makes a lot of sense. Down to Baldwin always picking rock during Paper, Rock, Scissors.

Three, yes this film is very much not woke, as you kids say. The sexism is on par with a Benny Hill skit, which I thought were terrible when I first saw them as a kid in the 1980s. It has always been a part of the film that made me uncomfortable. The script writers obviously never spoken to a woman in their lives.

Now Bud and Doyle’s celebrity is rising because America always roots for a moron. And Leaky is marketing them for toys and other merchandise, which they will never see a penny of because they are not that bright.

Brown: I just found this out while browsing through the cast: There’s a junior college teacher who has the girlfriends sign a Bud and Doyle t-shirt. Who is the teacher? Why, it’s Roger Clinton, the brother of then-president Bill Clinton!

I can’t wait for the sequel where Don Jr. wants an autograph from someone who knows Pauly Shore.

Froemming: The school’s slogan is “Nothing to be ashamed about.” It is on the granite sign.

Brown: I noticed that for the first time in this viewing. That got a genuine laugh from me.

Froemming: Same here! It was almost a gag out of “Community.”

This celebrity causes their girlfriends on the outside some headaches. Also, again because this movie was written by a horny 13-year-old, the girls are jealous of the two women scientists in the bio-dome, because that’s how dumbasses think women think. When, in reality, they should know Bud and Doyle wouldn’t have a chance in hell with those women.

So what do they do? Why, they start hanging out with date-rape-red-flags personified, pretending to care about the environment. Also, I completely forgot Rose McGowan was in this movie. She is a friend of Monique and Jen.

Brown: They start hanging out with date-rape-red-flags personified? Did we not just see Bud and Doyle commit sexual assault? That’s unfortunately par for the course for Monique and Jen.

So two weeks in, Bud and Doyle is on everyone’s nerves. And it all comes to a head when they break into a maintenance room that turns out to have junk food and laughing gas. It goes how you’d expect it to go.

Now, all this food, which is in its own airtight container to avoid spoilage, is in an airtight canister. Hell, you can hear the air escaping like it’s a can of Pepsi. How the (REDACTED) did Bud smell food from a different room through vents?

The answer: It’s “Bio-Dome,” I need to stop thinking.

Froemming: I thought it was Doyle, who we learn through flashbacks, can tell what Bud has eaten by the aroma of his farts. He has super smell.

I still stand by my statement this is a flawless film.

Brown: I’ll say this: They did throw in a good reference to “Blue Velvet” when they start sucking on nitrous oxide. At least one joke in this movie was deeper than I remember.

Froemming: I forgot the David Lynch reference. It made me laugh.

Also, why is there a container of junk food in the bio-dome? This isn’t explained. Whatever.

Because of this and many other infractions, Faulkner exiles Bud and Doyle into the desert area of the dome to live. Without food or water. As we learn, Faulkner is really into social Darwinism. Hell, even the victims of Bud and Doyle’s sexual misconduct say this is too far.

And we see our two heroes, lost in the cold at night, suffering in the heat during the day. Until they notice there is a key at a window. They found their freedom and a reason to not eat an exotic lizard.

Brown: OK, in such a highly-delicate, precise experiment to the point that they couldn’t let Bud and Doyle out and have a redo because of five minutes, how are there no alarms or something going off when they open the back door and leave the bio-dome. If that was discovered by the other scientists, that is an easy way to discredit ANY data that was made during the experiment.

Second, early in the movie we see tourists walking around and taking pictures of the bio-dome. So when they escape, find a boot on Doyle’s car and order pizzas at a payphone on the dome grounds in the span of, let’s say an hour, NO ONE spots them? Like, someone would have alerted the media that the two most famous members of the bio-dome have escaped.

Froemming: The dome is in the Arizona desert, and it is a pretty isolated experiment, so I guess there isn’t a lot of people hanging around outside. The guy who delivers their pizza is Russell, Monique’s mom’s boyfriend who had injured his bladder rollerblading. But because of Bill Clinton, he had to get a job. And he isn’t happy about that. But when they decide to throw a party in the bio-dome to outdo the guys hanging out with Monique and Jen, THEN ALARMS SHOULD HAVE GONE OFF.

Bud and Doyle call their old friend Roach, who works at a Copy’s Plus or something, to make flyers for their rager. And as word spreads, Monique and Jen find out about the party while partaking in a shoulder rubbing circle with featured band Tenacious D!

Brown: Yeah, that’s one of those cameos that you look back and just think “Holy (REDACTED), that’s kind of cool.” I remember seeing Jack Black in an episode of “The Golden Girls” once. That was more jarring than seeing him and KG in “Bio-Dome.”

As for this party, how does it sneak up on Faulkner and co. that this party is happening? There are spotlights and banners going up around a glass enclosure. You couldn’t just, I don’t know, look outside?

Now, destroying a nature experiment because you’re a bunch of crumbums is one thing. But, Faulkner did try to kill Bud and Doyle, so I feel like their destruction via drunk junior college kids and generic punk music is kind of deserved.

Froemming: Faulkner gets handcuffed to a tree as the rager continues. In the morning, as everyone is hungover, Monique and Jen are cleaning up and are pissed that their boyfriends pulled such a stunt. And they disavow them. Which, probably should have been something that happened way earlier in these relationships.

Faulkner is missing, having chewed through his metal handcuffs like a rat.

Bud and Doyle see the scientists about to leave, and are adamant everyone stay and fix the bio-dome, which they themselves had just hours before destroyed. Doyle gives them a lot of time to make up their minds, and then swallows the window key, locking them all in a poisoned bio-dome.

It is after this the scientists get made at him for swallowing the key. Dude, you had sooooo much time to just take off.

Brown: How did someone like Dr. Romulus not just say to them, “Hey, (REDACTED), you ruined the bio-dome with your dumbass friend. I’m not helping you.” He deserves that moment. Alas, we are left with a bunch of people trying to survive the 11 months that remain in the experiment.

Dr. Leaky is trying all the while to get Bud and Doyle, and everyone else, out of there. You mean to tell me you can’t get that done in 11 months? Leaky, pal, your $100 million investment is pretty much a wash. What’s a Sherman tank to the door for you to get everyone out of there? It’d feel like a Waco situation, but the job would get done.

Somehow, it comes together for the group. They help plant life grow, including a massive pot plant because of course and the rare butterflies mate. All this success comes during a montage that involves “Safety Dance” and a midget that, quite frankly, I’m not acknowledging beyond this.

Froemming: Things are looking up for the gang. But Faulkner has lost his mind. To the point where a parrot that says “I am god” gets on his nerves so much he eats it out of spite. Also, he is building coconut bombs, which seem like something out of “Gilligan’s Island.”

BIO-DOME, William Atherton, 1996. ©MGM

Brown: Bud and Doyle find Faulkner’s secret lair and he straight-up tells them he is making pyrotechnics.

Now, I know the two aren’t exactly the sharpest knives in the crayon box, but I feel like Bud and Doyle could piece together that pyrotechnics = explosions. Alas, they put those coconut bombs all over the bio-dome and only find out their mistake when they play catch and one hits the ground and almost kills Doyle.

From here, insert the cartoon chase for the bad guy.

Froemming: This whole sequence should have been soundtracked with “Yakety Sax” as they chase Faulkner around the bio-dome. Alas, they launch our villain toward the heavens and into the giant flytrap they made earlier in the film. He and Bud fall from this thing, and Bud is able to get the detonator from Faulkner, thus saving the day.

Brown: Which somehow gets the bio-dome to achieve perfect homeostasis, which was the goal of the entire thing.

As everyone is about to leave the bio-dome, Faulkner gets one more chance to kill Bud and Doyle with a loose coconut bomb. It goes off at the entrance, but it isn’t enough fire and smoke for these perpetual stoners and everyone walks out scott-free.

Life is back to normal for everyone as Bud, Doyle and their impossibly hot girlfriends ride off into the sunset… or a power plant on the verge of exploding because Doyle has the bladder of a toy poodle.

And, Faulkner runs out into the desert like a peyote Charles Manson.

It’s at this point where I’d like to mention that this movie was allegedly supposed to be “Bill and Ted 3” until Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter turned it down.

Froemming: Thank goodness they did, otherwise this would have sucked. Shore and Baldwin give a masterclass performance here.

Brown: If Tommy Wiseau is a masterclass of bad acting, “Bio-Dome” is like the 400 level of bad acting.

Well, I really need to go to the bathroom. I see a mall in the distance, so let’s go to recommendations before I get locked in there for a year.


Brown: I’m not going to recommend this to everyone. I’ll just say this movie isn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be. It still holds a nostalgic place in my heart.

Froemming: Yes. The movie is (REDACTED) great. I see no flaws with this film.

Here is what’s coming up for the next Joe-Down: