Auto Focus (2002): **
Directed by Paul Schrader
It's a good thing that this movie has a really freakin' fantastic
central performance by Greg Kinnear as the infamous Bob Crane, otherwise
it really wouldn't have that much going for it.
Oh, yes, it would. It would have the most hilarious and frighteningly
accurate re-creation of "Hogan's Heroes" ever put on film.
The actors they found to play the various cast members are uncanny.
These scenes are far and away the best of the film. Unfortunately
they're few and entirely in the first half.
The rest of the film chronicles Crane's desent into pornography-obsessed
behavior at the hands of his "friend" John Carpenter (no,
not that John Carpenter). This film is made well enough,
and like I said, Kinner is absolutely phenomenal in it, but (like
a lot of biopic pics where everything interesting happens in the
first half of the person's life) it just kind of starts slowly petering
out and repeating itself until eventually it just kinda sputters
to a close. This is surprising considering the violent end that
Crane meets, but even this seems just kinda thrown in as a way to
end the movie. Auto Focus is pretty much just kinda boring.
To be honest, there's not much reason to watch the film after the
"Hogan's Heroes" segments are over. Oh wait! Yes there
is! It's worth it to watch until after you get to see a re-creation
of Crane filming the water ski segment of the film Superdad.
Now, I've only seen about three minutes of Superdad, and
it just so happened to be that seen, so it's a kick to watch it
getting filmed. Kinnear does a great job of hamming up that scene
just to the inside of believablility.
I give this film two stars for the "Hogan's Heroes" parts
and for Kinnear, but I can't really recommend it based on that alone.
So watch the first half, and then get out your pillow and prepare
to take a little nappy-poo.
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