Men at Work (1990)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez in Men at Work (1990)

Estevez and Sheen Trash a Movie

The thought of brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez working together should fill me with delight, both have shown they are capable of delivering fun performances yet "Men at Work" is a pure disappointment. In a way it's not so much the performances from Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez which are at fault, although they have done better, it is the actual nonsense of the story, a comedy about garbage men, a dead body and bad guys which stinks up the movie like rotting trash.

All Carl (Charlie Sheen - Navy Seals) and James (Emilio Estevez - Young Guns) want to do is surf and own their own surf shop, but to make money they work as garbage men. One evening after playing trash can bowling they spot an argument between a man and women in a nearby apartment and so Carl decides to shoot the guy in the butt with his air rifle. But next morning they discover the same man dead and thrown in with the trash. Initially convinced they killed him, they soon set about discovering how he was murdered which leads them into a whole lot of trouble with a dodgy waste dumping business man.

Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez in Men at Work (1990)

"Men at Work" seems to be like an amalgamation of ideas gained from watching other movies, there's a touch of "Rear Windows", a lot of "Weekend at Bernies" and so on and because Emilio Estevez both wrote and directed the movie a lot of blame has to be levied at him. It's trying to be funny, two slacker friends trying to discover who actually killed the body they carry around with them whilst trying not to be killed by some bad guys, caught by the police, played pranks on by rival garbage men and throw in a touch of romance as well. It's stupid, intentionally so, but it doesn't blend together making "Men at Work" feel extremely weak and ultimately pointless. There is little to the actual storyline to engage you, to make you want to carry on watching.

The saddest thing is that at times "Men at Work" seems to be imitating "Weekend at Bernies" which is a questionable movie to imitate anyway. We get the dead body put into different poses, made to stand up and so on to try and hide the fact he is dead from some incompetent cops. The joke isn't funny and not to be honest are the jokes about the ex Vietnam soldier who happens to be with Carl and James who has anger problems. I could go on, the semi homophobic joke with cops tied up on a playground ride is crude as are those about the inept ability of the bad guys. I wish I could say there were some moments, some scenes which made me laugh, but nope not even the trash can bowling scene raised anything more than a minor smile.

You would think that being brothers there would be some acting chemistry between Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez but strangely there is none. They actually appear to be uncomfortable working together except in those scenes designed to show them as slackers. Maybe with Estevez being the director there was an awkwardness to telling his brother what to do, who knows. But together the comedy which both of them are more than capable of never gets its moment in the limelight.

Aside from Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez it would probably be better not to mention the supporting cast because every single one of them over acts, trying to be funny yet never managing it. Even Keith David as their companion Louis ends up grating for going over the top to make his character funny.

What this all boils down to is that "Men at Work" is a seriously disappointing movie. Everything about it is almost rudimentary and the attempts to make you laugh ends up falling flat. Going on this Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez would be better to work alone rather than teaming up again, or at least not in something that one of them writes and directs.