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Review: 'Bottoms Up' rises to the top

Posted Thursday, September 28, 2006 at 11:55 AM Central

by John Couture

Casting Paris Hilton to play a rich, spoiled socialite is like casting the kettle to play the pot. Sure, they dyed her hair (which, shockingly, is back to her trademark blonde for the box art) to try and make her character stand apart from Paris' real persona, but in the end, thankfully, she's not the focus of the movie.

The real star of Bottoms Up is Jason Mewes who steps out of his alter ego stoner Jay's shadow long enough to pull off a convincing loveable loser as the protagonist. Of course, his first stab at the lead role isn't without Kevin Smith training wheels as Smith cameos and provides some of the film's most memorable dialog and funny moments. Let's just say that Kevin's next directing gig is a horror flick and if there's midget rabbits from outer space in it, I'll be the first in line.

As a whole, Bottoms Up is a feel-good movie that, while at times, strays into the milieu of any good American Pie movie tends to avoid the outright raunchiness of its predecessors and deliver a good date movie option. Yes, even with Paris Hilton in a sizeable role.

The story follows Mewes' character Owen who fancies himself the best bartender in the world and his moves are called upon when his father is on the verge of losing his steakhouse. Needing money quick, Owen goes to Hollywood to compete in a bartending competition and get a quick score to help his dad stay afloat. Needless to say, things in Hollywood don't go as planned and Owen finds himself partying up the social elite of Hollywood with his flamboyant but still closeted Uncle Earl. Before long, Owen gets in over his head when he falls for a girl that it out of his league.

Besides Mewes, the other notable performance in the movie is given by veteran character actor David Keith. Keith, best known for his military roles in An Officer and a Gentleman, Behind Enemy Lines and U-571, tests the boundaries of the military's "don't ask and don't tell" policy with his hilarious turn as the ambiguously (at least to his family) gay Uncle Earl. David Keith brings his full arsenal of acting chops to the role and instead of going for the easy, cheap laugh, he often provided a well thought out comic scene.

One scene in particular that stood out was when Owen and Uncle Earl use miltary uniforms to gain access to a trendy nightclub. The scene is a complete spoof on An Officer and a Gentleman and works both as comic gold and a vehicle for moving the plot forward.

The only real sad part of Bottoms Up is the DVD itself. The offering is as bare-bones as you can get with movie trailers being the only added bonus to the movie itself. It would have been nice to see what was left on the cutting room floor and with many scenes between Mewes and Smith, you just know that there is probably a reel's worth of bloopers and gags that would make this DVD a sure-fire must own.

As it stands on its own merits, I can't justify spending the $25.00 to buy the DVD. But, this movie is certainly worth a watch and the production value is great for a low-budget independent movie. In particular, the animated segues interspersed throughout the movie add a nice touch and separate it from similar movies out in the market place.

Recommendation: Rent It