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Down Periscope

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PG-13
1996

Down Periscope, released in 1996 and directed by David S. Ward, is an offbeat comedy filled with irreverent humor and incredible on-screen camaraderies. Starring Kelsey Grammer of "Frasier" fame in the lead role, Down Periscope centers on the eccentric and incredibly competitive Lieutenant Commander Thomas Dodge, who, despite his unconventional methods and quirky antics, aspires to helm his own submarine. Packed with laugh-out-loud moments, this movie cleverly combines military action with rib-tickling comedy, featuring a comedic ensemble which includes Lauren Holly, Rob Schneider, and Harry Dean Stanton.

The plot of Down Periscope takes a leisurely plunge into the eccentric world of Dodge, a maverick naval officer with a knack for juggling the impossible. Despite having numerous demerits against him, Dodge's aptitude for unconventional tactics catches the attention of his higher-ups, leading to his first command post. His dream assignment, however, turns into a comedic nightmare when he is handed the USS Stingray - a rust-bucket World War II diesel submarine previously earmarked for the scrapheap. Instead of a modern nuclear vessel, Dodge is left with the daunting task of leading an antiquated submarine to glory.

What makes the assignment even more daunting is the ragtag crew of misfits Dodge has to work with. The flamboyant crew, all as eccentric as their leader, include the likes of a tone-deaf sonar whiz (Harland Williams), a hyperactive executive officer (Rob Schneider), an overly enthusiastic dive officer (Lauren Holly), and a crusty old chief (Harry Dean Stanton), among others. As the crew struggle to restore the sub and get it operational, the film offers countless comic situations and moments of inspired silliness.

Despite the outlandish elements, a military exercise serves as the backbone of the narrative, enhancing its credibility. Dodge's assignment is not merely to get the rusty submarine shipshape but also to lead it in a war game against the more modern and well-equipped American naval fleet. The movie constructs this exercise as something of a David versus Goliath story, lending an absorbing conflict to the overall comic framework.

Kelsey Grammer's immerse portrayal of the unorthodox, but undeniably ingenious Dodge, brings forth a balanced blend of humor and inspiration. His brand of quirky charisma injects the film with its lively spirit, making him the perfect central figure for this comedic voyage. The gaggle of oddballs played by a fine collection of character actors adds an extra dash of entertainment, each of them bringing their own idiosyncrasies to the table.

Lauren Holly, as a passionate Lieutenant who is the only female in an all-male crew, presents a charming performance. Her character's bravery and ambition present an interesting dynamic that offers an angle of gender commentary to the humor. Rob Schneider, another prominent figure in the cast, excels in his role, providing a significant part of the film’s comic relief. His antics create numerous hilarious interactions with the rest of the crew and enhance the comedic undercurrents of the film.

Meanwhile, Harry Dean Stanton gives a typically gruff, understated performance as the seasoned chief who initially resents Dodge but eventually warms up to him. His character encapsulates the old, steadfast spirit of Navy tradition, providing a reoccurring theme to the movie's naval backdrop - one that underscores respect for tradition even in the midst of madcap comedy.

The film is not without its fair share of action scenes either, as Dodge takes his unconventional submarine and unparalleled tactics into the very heart of the military exercise. David S. Ward incorporates a good few submarine warfare strategies into the narrative, providing a gripping contrast to the film’s comedic vibes. The action is balanced with just enough technical authenticity to captivate the viewer without delving too deep into the complexities of submarine warfare that it loses its laughs.

Overall, Down Periscope is a wonderful, quirky comedy backed by a stellar cast bringing their comedic chops to the forefront. The movie strikes an excellent balance between humor, action, and character development, rendering it an enjoyable watch for those seeking light-hearted entertainment. The offbeat characters, the unusual setting, and the engaging plot combine seamlessly to turn this naval adventure into an unforgettable joyride brimming with humor. It’s a must-watch for fans of comedies and submarine films alike - a clever postmodern parody that unfolds amidst the echoing depth charges and the murky ocean depths.

Down Periscope is a Comedy movie released in 1996. It has a runtime of 93 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.2. It also holds a MetaScore of 39.

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Where can I stream Down Periscope movie online? Down Periscope is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Down Periscope for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

6.2/10
39/100
Director
David S. Ward
Stars
Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Holly, Rob Schneider
Genres
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