Typical teen comedy fare, Dirty Deeds may not be all that well known, but it's not a terrible time-waster. Thanks to a decent cast, a fun premise that has the potential for greatness, and one or two enjoyable set-pieces, this puts itself slightly ahead of the seemingly hundreds of American Pie sequels that went straight to DVD.
Milo Ventimiglia plays Zach Harper, the young man at the centre of all of the excitement in this comedic adventure. In an attempt to help out the brother of a girl he likes (Lacey Chabert, and who can blame him for liking her) he ends up putting himself forward to do the dirty deeds. These are ten tasks so fiendishly difficult that few people rarely make it past the first two or three. And they have to be completed between dusk and dawn of one night. It's a very tough challenge, but complete all ten and you become a legend. That's definitely not the outcome that Dan Watson (Matthew Carey) and his band of jocks want. Zach has to deal with them, the police, some local tough lads, and more, as he attempts to make his way through the list. Meanwhile, some younger lads try to make the most of their luck when forced to host a party to commemorate the big event.
Written by Jon Land and Jonathan Thies, Dirty Deeds doesn't really have a sharp script or any memorable one-liners, but that's okay. The ten tasks, and the lengths that Zach has to go to in order to complete them, that's where all of the fun comes from.
David Kendall does a decent enough job as director, keeping things well paced and simple. It's only in the final 10-15 minutes where the film really stumbles, but it's a stumble so bad that it undoes a lot of the good work that came beforehand.
Ventimiglia is fine in the lead role, cool and confident at almost every turn. Carey is enjoyably unlikable, as is Tom Amandes (playing the Vice Principal who ends up . . . . . . well . . . . you'll see). Charles Durning is fun in a small role, Zoe Saldana shows a hint of the presence that would help her become a bigger star just a few years down the line, Arielle Kebbel is cute, and Lacey Chabert is always a welcome addition to any movie, in my opinion.
Not as outrageous or funny as it could/should be, Dirty Deeds is still an amusing way to spend 90 minutes. It's not unmissable, but it's not too painful either. It's just a real shame about that lame ending.