Down Periscope (1996) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

Kelsey Grammer makes the jump from television star to lead actor in a studio comedy with Down Periscope. Director David S. Ward (Major League, The Sting) keeps the picture brisk and the cast drops one-liners that occasionally hit the bullseye. The paper-thin storyline is a collection of scenes that don’t add up to much.

Cmdr. Tom Dodge (Kelsey Grammer) is a loose cannon in the Naval hierarchy. His rogue antics and lackadaisical attitude have led to countless write-ups and passovers during his infamous career. So it’s a surprise when he’s given his own command of a decrepit boat, outfitted with a less than ideal crew.

They are to get the recently decommissioned U.S.S. Stingray in shipshape to participate in a Naval exercise. Determined to prove his detractors wrong, Dodge works on getting his misfit sailors up to task. Adm. Graham (Bruce Dern), has a vested interest in Dodge’s defeat at the games and goes out of his way to rig the competition against the lowly captain and his antiquated vessel.

Down Periscope arrived in theaters during a year that saw a slew of television adaptations hitting the big-screen. This translation isn’t particularly memorable but, the same could be said of the source material. Given the concept, script, and overall blandness of studio comedies in 1996, Down Periscope qualifies as a minor success.

Director: David S. Ward
Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Lauren Holly, Bruce Dern

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