Please note, this review contains mature themes.
This review will consist of me asking myself 10 questions and answering them to the best of my ability.
1. What is this film about?
This movie tells the interconnecting stories of two children’s programming entertainers. Rainbow Randolph is on his way due to bad behavior and Smoochy, a Barney look-alike, is about to be discovered.
I’d classify this film as a dark comedy and perhaps even a satire about the way things are, could be, and should be when it comes to the entertainment industry and children’s programming. I choose to review this movie for three reasons.
–1. I never dealt the matter of Robin William’s death for myself. As a movie lover and kid at heart, I appreciate the years of entertainment he provided allowing me to grow and develop my tastes and understanding of different kinds of comedy.
–2. Every time I thought about reviewing some of William’s greatest works, I admit, it made me cry because of the way he left us all. So, not wanting to back down on my plan to review something of his, I settled on Death to Smoochy. Nothing about this film makes me want to cry.
–3. I really wanted to review something quirky or perhaps little know. I think I hit the jackpot with this one.
2. What did I think of the title, poster, and or trailer?
I’ve seen two different posters for this movie and neither one really does anything for me; they’re okay. As for the title, is it bad that I really like it? I mean, you know up front, there will be a matter of death in some capacity and when paired with the poster; you can pretty well determine there will be some uncomfortable laughter involved. I never saw the trailer before watching the movie, but have since. It gives you a pretty good idea of what you’re going to see.
3. What did I think of the main character(s) and how the actors performed them?
Okay, what I’m about to say next may not seem like a big deal, but for me it’s painful. While Robin Williams is always entertaining, I felt like he did quite a bit of overacting in this role of Rainbow Randolph. Don’t get me wrong, he hit the mark quite a few times with great one-liners, the portrayal of a mentally unstable person, and even delivered one scene of poetic sorrow that really tugs at your emotions…but then he followed it up with a slew of obscenities and sexual innuendoes.
I loved Ed Norton as Sheldon/Smoochy and Catherine Keener and Nora. It was so amusing to see the conflict of wholesome vs. bitter turn into something more between these two characters by the end.
Then there are the smaller parts and bit roles played by Jon Stewart, Danny DeVito, and Michael Rispoli. I think they all did a nice job playing the parts they were given, but on the whole, everyone had their over-the-top moments when less would have been just fine.
4. What did I think of the direction and cinematography?
Well, since Danny DeVito directed this movie you can probably guess that I had some issues with the way it was filmed. For the most part, I loved the interaction between the characters, but the depiction of New York seemed a bit cartoonish. I think everyone knows by now that New York can be more than a little gritty and harsh, but to emphasize that with shadows, poorly lit rooms, and dark alleys and tunnels was a bit much.
Considering all that, DeVito actually made it work. I know it sounds like I’m contradicting myself, but it’s true. Everything over-the-top, shrouded in darkness, and packed with awkward angles and props made this adult cartoon-like movie work, but I wouldn’t call it genius by any means.
5. What did I think of the soundtrack and score?
This movie has a fun soundtrack. It’s a mixture of popular music, classical, and original songs, which I can’t deny, just make me laugh. I keep thinking of “My Stepdad’s Not Mean”; you’ll have to see the movie to get that reference. It’s one of the original songs. Whenever a movie ends with “Your Love is Lifting Me Higher”, it’s hard for me to walk away feeling dissatisfied.
6. What did I like about the story as a whole?
I liked the way most of the characters with all of their diverse backgrounds and personal tastes, in the end, really did want to do what was best for the kids, even if greed and personal vendettas kept getting in the way. It’s not an easy or clear message to pull from the action of the movie, but I think the overall message is a positive one. There are good people out there trying to make a different; they have so much going against them.
7. What did I not like about the story?
I did not care for the overacting, the excessive use of the “F” word, and all the unnecessary sexual jokes. Comedy and sexuality definitely have a place in programming made for adults, but some of this was just too much and very silly.
8. Would I recommend this movie to others?
It depends. On the whole, as an adult, I actually liked this movie. I admit, that part of this probably stems from my disdain of the original purple dinosaur Barney. However, by the end of the movie, I couldn’t help but root for Smoochy. That doesn’t mean others will feel this way.
9. If yes, who? What would I rate this movie?
This is a special kind of dark comedy for a special kind of movie viewer who “gets it”. I could see some of my teacher friends liking this, while I know others would be appalled by it. So far, the few no-child couples I’ve shared this with have liked it.
On a scale of 1 to 5 movie reels, I give this film 4 reels, but only because I don’t really do halves and 3 is just too low.
10. Was there anything in this movie that could be related to me or anything I have written?
I haven’t written anything like this and don’t plan to anytime soon. Comedy just isn’t my thing, even though I really enjoy it. I have been told, however, that I have a way with writing disturbing things, and this movie is a little disturbing…Just a little.
Watch, rent, or buy this movie here.
Mock Squid Soup – Film Society
MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are proud to introduce Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society. Each month, on the second Friday, we shall host a bloghop devoted to a particular movie. We invite others to watch the same film and post their own reviews…Don’t be shy; come join the fun! 😀
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords