Ken Tucker
March 15, 1996 AT 05:00 AM EST

Down Periscope

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
92 minutes
performer
Bruce Dern, Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Holly, Rob Schneider, Harry Dean Stanton, Rip Torn, William H. Macy
director
David S. Ward
author
Hugh Wilson
genre
Comedy

We gave it a D

In Down Periscope, Frasier‘s Kelsey Grammer plays Tom Dodge, the sort of rascally Navy lifer who gets drunk and has the impressively lengthy phrase ”Welcome Aboard” tattooed on his most private part. Behavior like that gets him an unenviable assignment: captain of a rust-bucket diesel-engine submarine, the U.S.S. Stingray, staffed with a crew of daffy screwups, plus Picket Fences‘ Lauren Holly. As the Stingray struggles to win a war game with a nuclear sub, Periscope is both vulgar (hear Frasier say the F-word!) and uplifting (its message: losers who unite will triumph). Saturday Night Live‘s Rob Schneider, playing a mean, jittery second-in-command, comes off like a ferrety Don Knotts. Periscope is filled with such familiar faces as Bruce Dern and Rip Torn playing squabbling admirals, and Harry Dean Stanton in a tiny role as a grizzled engineer. None of them are used to good effect. D

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