Intern Academy

Directed by Dave Thomas. Starring Dave Foley, Dan Aykroyd, and Lynda Boyd. Rated 14A.

You need flying organs? How about guys covered in human excrement? And when was the last time you saw a good nymphomaniac joke or three? Intern Academy, a low-budget (but government-funded) Canadian attempt to cash in on the failing gross-out-comedy trend, is so aggressively retrograde in its humour, it's hard to be offended by any of its bad-taste indulgences. Your sensitivities as a taxpayer may be another matter.

Pointlessly told from the POV of new medical intern Mike Bonnert (Peter Oldring)--the tale offers very intermittent voice-over narration that adds nothing to the proceedings--IA stalks the halls of a rundown teaching hospital, where Dan Aykroyd's head honcho is selling off equipment to keep everything (including his hot tub) afloat. Haphazardly written and directed by Dave Thomas, the movie nominally centres on Mike and his stereotyped pals: the cool black guy (Viv Leacock), the blond striver (Ingrid Kavelaars), the Asian perfectionist (Jane McLean) who needs to loosen up, and the part-time stripper (Christine Chatelain) who, I don't know, likes to give blow jobs or something.

If these callow characters are not exactly thought through on paper, some of the more veteran actors use their screen time well. Thomas, perhaps wisely, doesn't give himself that much to do in the essentially straight role of cranky taskmaster, but ex--Kid in the Hall Dave Foley brings a decidedly vicious edge to his every scene as a top surgeon whose unbridled arrogance is compounded by an out-there sexism that makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like Alan Alda.

Vancouver's Lynda Boyd brings a needed earthiness to her role as a long-suffering head nurse, while Matt Frewer and Maury Chaykin have funny cameos as creepy teachers. Saul Rubinek, as the alleged protagonist's flustered father, conveys something much closer to the attitude of the audience in general; his body language, at least, says, "What the hell am I doing here?"