Death to Smoochy (2002): ***1/2
Directed by Danny DeVito
I was honestly really shocked at how much I liked this movie. I thought it would pretty funny, you know, a *** movie maybe.
But I laughed a whole lot, and there were a couple of roll-around-on-the-floor-funny parts.
I really like Devito as a director. His Matilda is my favorite movie in the Little Girl genre. This
film is full of his weird touches, like funky camera angles for no reason, exaggerated characters, and
lingering on scenes which any other director would have cut out because they didn't advance the plot much.
It took me a while to figure out who Devito made this film for. It's not for kids, but it really
woulnd't be appealing to most adults. Then I figured it out. Devito made this movie because
he thought it was funny. Like the old Warner Bros. cartoonists who made Loony Tunes, it seems Devito didn't make
this film with any demographic in mind, but because he thought it was funny. In this day and age, that's chutzpah.
The structure of this movie is insane. Like Pootie Tang: Sine Your Pity on the Runny Kine, it's barely even a real movie.
Characters have no real character arcs. They are themselves, and if
they change it is a sudden change, not a gradual growing over the course of the movie. Problems are
introduced and then solved almost immediately. It seemed almost as if the movie could have
gone on indefinitely; as if Devito just ended it where he ended it because it seemed like a good enough
place to end it.
Because of that, it also took me a while to figure out what this film is about. It isn't really about the characters, although
they're all really strong. They're mostly pretty one-dimensional. It certainly isn't about the
story, because what story? It isn't a satire of anything, really, becuase it's so far beyond
reality that it exists off in its own plane of existence that has really no relation to the real
world. Then I figured it out. I think it's also why I liked the movie so much. It isn't about
story or characters or style or substance. It's about being funny. And, good God, it's about
time a comedy was concerned first and foremost about being funny!
And funny it is. The situations are absurd, the characters are absurd, the direction is
absurd. The Irish Mafia is the nicest mob ever in existence. There are some actually
hilarious one-liners. I enjoyed myself a lot at this movie.
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