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‘Men at Work’ (PG-13)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
August 25, 1990

There's good garbage, like worn-out lingerie, and then there's bad garbage, like toxic waste, according to Emilio Estevez's "Men at Work." A farce with no luster but a certain Sheen -- Charlie -- it is the second costarring vehicle for the comely brothers.

Neither goes to waste in this low comedic look at socially responsible disposal, which features the glamour pups as happy-go-lucky garbage men who dream of opening a surf shop. But little do they know that a greedy chemical company chairman is endangering their dreams and the future of their small beach-front community by dumping poisons in the bay.

One morning they are happily tossing off one-liners and trashing cans when they discover a body -- that of a city councilman (Darrell Larson) -- stuffed in an oil drum. Carl (Sheen), James (Estevez) and their unstable colleague, Louis (Keith David), are afraid to report their findings for fear of implicating themselves. A pizza delivery boy and the councilman's attractive aide, Susan (Leslie Hope), are also drawn into the fun, such as it is.

Carl, a peeping Tom who lives in an apartment across from Susan's, observed the councilman in her apartment earlier and decides to investigate firsthand. A night of booze and snuggling brings him closer to both Susan and the truth, while the others drive around with the corpse in the garbage truck trailed by two argumentative hit men. And so on and so forth.

Primarily a vaudevillian escapade, "Men at Work" combines montages of the boys picking up trash with witticisms regarding stiffs, gays and canine land mines. Like the jokes, the brothers' rapport seems recycled from childhood. Sheen and Estevez are hardly working.

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