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Death to Smoochy


A Video Review of Death To Smoochy

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

I didn’t hate this movie completely but I did hate it a lot.

As the story goes, kiddie show host Rainbow Randolph (Robin Williams) gets busted for notorious and decidedly un-kiddie–show-host-like activities and the network seeks out a more innocent uncorruptible replacement in Smoochy, a big purple rhino (Edward Norton). It deteriorates from there as bad acting, worse writing and supposed hilarity ensues.

Edward Norton escapes with his reputation intact. He demonstrates his usual talent and skill despite being surrounded by ineptitude. It must be said that his quaint and lovable ‘Smoochy’ is cotton candy compared to the work he’s done in hard-hitting dramas like Primal Fear and American History X but his ability still shines through.

Co-star Robin Williams is the reason I stayed away from this mess when it was in the theatres, you know, it had that warning label “starring Robin Williams.” I never tire of that joke. This role was obviously practice for Williams’ later and progressively superior sociopaths in Insomnia and One Hour Photo. It’s a damn shame he had to practice on screen. What begins as legitimate evil turns to frightening and finally to Williams’ usual hyperactive nonsense. Sad.

Lead actress and Ed Norton’s producer and romantic interest Catherine Keener is perfectly fine as a bitchy ice queen but once her emotions come out we get to see her limited range. She is terrible, the less said the better.

There are bright spots. I can’t wait to see Pam Ferris who played the Irish mob mistress and Michael Rispoli as her punch drunk ex-prize fighter cousin in action again. Their performances are gems amongst coal. Also don’t miss the wonderfully twisted “Stepfather Song.”

Writer Adam Resnick has proven himself an unsure bet. He was excellent with 2000’s Lucky Numbers but then you have Cabin Boy and this mess… odds are for his next script to be good. If you have to see this one at all, see it with your finger on the fast forward button and a friend who’s seen it before to warn you for the good parts.

Agree with me? Want to fight about it? Reach me here.