I’ll confess, I can’t really say there’s been a lot of movies about garbage and garbage men that aren’t documentaries. Last one I saw was 1990’s Men at Work, starring Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez, who also wrote and directed the movie. Guess when you think about, there really isn’t a whole lot you can do with a story about garbage men that has them at the center of the plot. Well, now we have Garbage, a comedy about how a simple bit of dumb luck can make one’s life a little crazy.
Directed by Phil Volken, Garbage stars Jed Rees and Jon Huck as well as Lenny Eaton and Abbott Smith, respectively, two working class garbage men in Hollywood, picking up the trash of all the local celebrities, including Darryl Hannah, Michael Madsen (who play themselves in the movie) and Ben Stiller. One day, they discover a rather interesting find: Cuba Gooding, Jr’s Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Jerry Maguire. Next thing they know, they’re overnight celebrities, rubbing elbows with the folks who had looked down on them and enjoying all the other highlights of their new status. But of course, what will the price of fame be when it could tear their friendship apart.
Okay, admittedly, this isn’t a bad film, but it’s not great either. But for a screwball comedy about dumb luck and overnight success, it’s worth at least a look when you’re in the mood for some cheap laughs. Especially when you stop wondering just how the heck an actor’s Oscar wound up in the trash (yeah, like that’d happen, no matter it was won for) and just sit back and watch. It is somewhat fun to see Hollywood life through the eyes of two ordinary Joes who, at first, enjoy what little interaction they get with the local celebrities, even if it is just complaints about how their trash is picked up. Granted, the celebs who do appear (William Baldwin also appears along with the aforementioned Hannah and Madsen) as themselves are ones who aren’t such big names anymore (hey, it is an independent feature), but it does help make it seem like the film is set in the “real world”.
Also, you don’t really get anything new with the main part of the plot, that being how the main characters, Lenny and Abbott, deal with their newfound fame. In particular, Lenny really starts to live it up, dating hot women and doing other things he’s only fantasized about previously. On the flipside, Abbott likes it at first, but is more content with his old life after he gets a look at what the Hollywood lifestyle is really like, which causes friction between him and Lenny. There are some moments that border on the ridiculous, such as when the guys are told that Ben Stiller suddenly wants to make their life story into a TV movie. But that’s kind of the point, as the movie, like others of its kind where actors portray themselves, gives a parody look at Hollywood and what transpires there. Yeah, nothing new, but it has it’s moments.
So like I said, if you’re just looking for a night of cheap laughs, give Garbage a look. It might even be something you can add to your list of guilty pleasures that you watch just for the heck of it.