Death To Smoochy

0
0
Subscribe to Robin Williams alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th March 2002

Box Office USA: $8.3M

Budget: $55M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 69

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Robin Williams as Rainbow Randolph, Catherine Keener as Nora Wells, Danny DeVito as Burke Bennett, Jon Stewart as Marion Frank Stokes, Pam Ferris as Tommy Cotter, Edward Norton as Sheldon Mopes / Smoochy, Danny Woodburn as Angelo Pike, Michael Rispoli as Spinner Dunn, Harvey Fierstein as Merv Green, Vincent Schiavelli as Buggy Ding Dong

Death To Smoochy Movie Review


It's so comforting to see Robin Williams in yet another family movie, playing a psychotic kiddie show clown fired from his job and bent on murdering the guy in the purple rhino suit who took his place...

Hey! Wait a minute!

Truth be told, it is so refreshing to see Robin Williams turn 180 degrees from the string of insultingly innocuous and sappy fiascoes he's been making almost habitually for the last several years ("Bicentennial Man," "Patch Adams," etc.) and dive headlong into "Death to Smoochy," a relentlessly dark farce that takes place in the fictitiously cutthroat world of children's television.

Williams plays Rainbow Randolph, a corrupt charlatan megastar from a kiddie network who gets bounced from his own show after being busted for accepting bribes from parents wanting to see their children front and center on TV.

While Randolph finds himself suddenly broke, homeless and seething with deranged wrath, the program's callous producers (Jon Stewart in a bad Beatles/Caesar hairdo and slinky Catherine Keener playing a variation on her office hellcat from "Being John Malkovich") desperately seek a squeaky-clean replacement from a list of down-on-their-luck costumed buffoons.

"Buggy Ding Dong?" she suggests. "Heroin mule," he replies ironically. And so it goes until they arrive at Sheldon Mopes (Edward Norton), a.k.a. Smoochy the Rhino, a principled chump living in optimistic hope of being discovered while performing "regular Friday night gigs at a Coney Island methadone clinic" out of the goodness of his heart.

Discarding his homemade costume (a boxer's padded sparring helmet spray-painted purple served as Smoochy's head) for a super-deluxe Barney-like rhinoceros suit, Sheldon slides giddily into Randolph's time slot. He soon becomes a national sensation by singing songs like "My Stepdad's Not Mean, He's Just Adjusting" while happy tykes dance with midgets in miniature rhino get-ups. But it isn't long before naive, warm-fuzzy, wheat-grass sipping Sheldon is butting heads with network suits over turning Smoochy into a shill for merchandise, candy and soda.

Meanwhile, Randolph starts sneaking onto the set to sabotage Smoochy's show. "Welcome to Fatty Arbuckle land!" he cackles maniacally as he substitutes the rhino's sugar-free soy goodies for the studio audience kids with a bag of obscenely-shaped cookies.

Written by "Late Night" and "Larry Sanders Show" vet Adam Resnick and directed by Danny Devito, "Death to Smoochy" is wickedly twisted, thorny and tart. It takes place in a comical world where, for example, children's charities are run like mafia syndicates (gravel-voiced Harvey Fierstein is a hoot as an enforcer from a foundation called "Parade of Hope"). And the movie only gets weirder as Randolph's insane campaign against Smoochy escalates toward an absurdly operatic ice-show finale.

Every performance in the picture is pitch-perfect for its pitch-black sense of humor, especially Norton's subtly subversive take on sweet, scrupulous Sheldon, who is so harmless that orange juice spiked with liquid alfalfa gets him drunk. His wholesome Mr. Rodgers-like persona hides a dungeonous dark side that peeks out from time to time and you're never quite sure if he might snap.

Keener just keeps getting funnier as her caustic TV producer gets the hots for Sheldon even though she can't stand him, exposing her past as a kiddie show groupie who has slept with almost every costumed entertainer in her channel's history. DeVito makes an appearance too, as a greedy greaseball who becomes Smoochy's agent in order to set him up to take a fall at the behest of the charity thugs.

But the film might not have worked at all without Williams' limitless capacity for deviant lunacy, which is put to good use by DeVito. The director gives his star just enough leash to frolic in the swarthiest recesses of his talent without letting him hang himself by going overboard into unchecked improvisation.


Contactmusic

0
0
Subscribe to Robin Williams alerts

Comments

Death To Smoochy Rating

" OK "

Advertisement

More Robin Williams

Laura Marling - Short Movie Video

Laura Marling has now launched the title track for her forthcoming new album 'Short Movie' alongside a colourful animated equine video. The record co-produced by...

Pond - Sitting Up On Our Crane Video

Tame Impala side-project Pond unveil a psychedelic graphics laden video for their new track 'Sitting Up On Our Crane', taken from their forthcoming new album...

Wolf Alice - Giant Peach (Live) Video

Recently nominated for BBC's Sound of 2015, Wolf Alice perform an intimate rendition of their new track 'Giant Peach'. The band are currently working on...

Owl City - Kiss Me Babe, It's Christmas Time (Audio) Video

Getting into the festive spirit is Owl City, whose fun new single 'Kiss Me Babe, It's Christmas Time' has now been made available ahead of...

Advertisement

Wolf Alice - Interview Video

One half of London quartet Wolf Alice discuss their recent tour, their excitement for 2015 and a possible album release. They also unveil their favourite...

The Loft Trailer

Five married friends decide to buy a loft together, and each owned a key, but no one else did. The men use the loft as...

Far From The Madding Crowd Trailer

Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is a beautiful young, yet poor woman. After saving the life of a young farmer, he falls utterly in love with...

Paul McCartney - The Daily Show Clips Video

Paul McCartney recently unveiled a new single, entitled 'Hope', to go alongside the release of brand new video shooter game 'Destiny'. However, while promoting the...

Advertisement