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The Wash


The Wash

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When co-writing the screenplay to Friday, Ice Cube and producer DJ Pooh reportedly used as their model 1976's Car Wash, a breezy, charming slice-of-life comedy about one music-filled day in the life of a predominantly black Los Angeles car wash. For The Wash, his follow-up to 2000's similarly dire 3 Strikes, writer-director Pooh returns to Car Wash for inspiration, borrowing that film's setting, its episodic structure, and its wall-to-wall soundtrack, while sacrificing its charm, wit, affability, and just about everything else that made it worth seeing. Cast against type as skirt-chasing marijuana enthusiasts, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg star as slight variations on Ice Cube and Chris Tucker's characters in Friday, with Dre serving as the stocky, responsible straight man, and the once-and-future Doggfather playing the skinny, wisecracking extrovert. While Dogg and Dre's musical chemistry remains justifiably famous, their cinematic comic chemistry is nonexistent. In his first lead role, Dre appears clammy, nervous, and basted in his own flop-sweat, while a scowling Dogg seems far more concerned with protecting his Cripped-out gangsta persona than with delivering laughs. The two play underachieving roommates who become coworkers when the recently laid-off Dre gets a job assistant-managing the car wash that Dogg uses as the base of operations for his pot-dealing and womanizing enterprises. Pooh himself figures prominently in the scant plot, playing a hapless kidnapper who takes car-wash owner George Wallace hostage, necessitating some Encyclopedia Brown-level sleuthing on Dre and Snoop's part. Pooh's section of the film comes closest to the semi-amusing, if only because it subscribes to a comic philosophy other than the notion that bodily fluids, fat people, and sexism are inherently hilarious. Like 3 Strikes, The Wash is the cinematic equivalent of an Andrew Dice Clay stand-up routine, with short, ugly bursts of misogyny and misanthropy filling in for jokes and punchlines. As befits a movie that exists largely for the sake of its music, The Wash boasts a terrific, Dre- and Snoop-heavy soundtrack that illustrates the pair's gifts far better than the film attached to it. But just about any randomly chosen chunk of flickering images would serve as a more entertaining accompaniment, including (but not limited to) Glen Or Glenda, Battlefield Earth, and Jerry Lewis' ill-fated Holocaust drama The Day The Clown Cried.