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By Eric Campos | June 26, 2002

The only way this film is worth anything is as a hardcore drinking game. Take a shot for every pop culture reference uttered and if this movie doesn’t make you wanna puke, all of the alcohol you’ll consume will. I shall warn you, however that the “Characters” drinking game is for pro drinkers only, anyone else may find themselves taking a ride in the meat wagon to ER.
Best friends Julian and Spencer have spent their entire lives together dreaming about moving out of Orlando to Los Angeles where they can prosper as screenwriters. Now that they’re all grown up, with a wealthy catalogue of scripts they’ve written under their belts, they’re going to make that dream come true. But first, they have to get through their last day of work at The Adventure Kingdom of Fun theme park where Spencer works in the corporate offices and Julian works the park grounds as a character actor in a costume. And it is on this last day of work that we get to witness all of the cleverly wacky things that go on behind the scenes of a major theme park.
The premise isn’t bad at all. I was actually looking forward to seeing this one. I would love to see a “Caddyshack” type movie based on theme park employees…a good one. You can tell that’s what the filmmakers behind “Characters” were making a feeble attempt at, but instead wind-up making a hack-job “Mallrats” at a theme park.
Two major blunders drag this film down to hell and the first is all of the goddamned pop culture references. When oh when will filmmakers realize that “witty” movie references make s**t a*s substitutes for actual dialogue? Seems lately that a lot of films start out with pop culture reference peppered dialogue just to get things going – cheap character intro I guess, but then the references tend to drop off as the film progresses. Not this one. In this film, the references just keep piling on, getting thicker and thicker until you can feel yourself gagging on them. After a while it got to the point that I was counting at least one reference a minute. That’s just absolutely ridiculous. Not even in the stank-filled halls of the San Diego Comic Con do you hear as much shameless referencing as you do in “Characters.”
The second blunder is that the film doesn’t spend nearly enough time out and about the park exploiting the subject matter that is a take on how much of a pain in the a*s it is to work at a theme park. The film’s very few laughs come from the cast members f*****g with the tourists, but most of the film is spent following the two main characters around as they mope about the second thoughts they’re having about moving to Los Angeles. No fun at all.
On the video box it says – The Movie Mickey Doesn’t Want You To See. Why is that? Is it that Mickey doesn’t want people to find out that behind every theme park there’s a cast of pop culture spouting morons lurking? Sure sounds like it to me because that’s all this film manages to say.

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