A surprisingly funny comedy.

Kelsey Grammar plays Lt. Cmdr. Tom Dodge. The movie opens with his superiors discussing his record. He's applying for the position of submarine captain for the US Navy. If he's turned down this third time, he will be dropped from the program, which would be bad, as he's trained for years. The problem is that he has a couple of blemishes on his record, which makes the people nervous. So what do they do? Give him a sub.

Wait a minute! you exclaim. You just gave away the ending! Darn you, and i'm downvoting you now, sucka! Easy there. I only revealed the first 5 minutes.

Instead of giving him a modern nuclear submarine, the general awards him an extremely old World War II diesel submarine. It's rusty, and out of shape, and just recommissioned, just for him. His crew is horrible. Each one is a screwup, a nobody who sucks at their given job. They're nutty, but all pretty funny.

The crew is given a mission. Take the sub they have, and test the Navy's defenses by sneaking into the ports along the east coast. Surely an enemy country would have an outdated sub to try to get within attack range of Washington DC, so it's their job to attempt it.

The movie is pretty funny, intelligent, and has some great acting. Each member of the crew gets a chance to prove themselves, and they eventually...wait, I don't want to give that away.

I really enjoyed this movie. Each character is quirky, and their personalities really bounce off each other. Comedians like Rob Schneider and Harlan Williams were in this movie before they hit it big. I thought it was funnier than McHale's Navy.

Here's the cast list:
Kelsey Grammer - The Captain
Lauren Holly - The Love interest
Rob Schneider - The uptight officer
Harry Dean Stanton
Bruce Dern
William H. Macy
Ken Hudson Campbell
Toby Huss
Duane Martin
Jonathan Penner
Bradford Tatum
Harland Williams - "Sonar" the radar guy
Rip Torn - The Admiral
James Martin Jr.
Jordan Marder

Made in 1996, Rated PG-13
Directed by David S. Ward 
Written by Hugh Wilson 

Plus, during the Credits, The Village People perform a music video "In the Navy"

The diesel submarine used in the movie is the USS Pampanito (SS 383), a WWII submarine currently (2000) on display to the public at Pier 45 in San Francisco, California.

Thanks IMDb for credit listings, and the above tidbit.

Oh, and the name originates from a command given on a submarine. When the officer wants to view the seas above, he says "Up Periscope" which is a cue for one of the people to press the button that raises the periscope head above the water, as well as lifting the viewer off the deck. To stow it, he says "Down Periscope" which lowers it back down.

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