Death to Smoochy Movie Review
It has been a dark year for Robin Williams; at least he decided to get the worst over the earliest. Before he stunned audiences in Insomnia and One Hour Photo, he played a different kind of villain in Death to Smoochy, as a kid's show host turned psychotic. In many ways, this movie marks a shift from his more innocent, funny films to a brooding exploration of just how far Williams can go. Unfortunately, while watching the movie, one does not think in nearly as intellectual terms.
Edward Norton actually stars as an idealist kid show host that wear a pink rhino suit, which not-so-coincidentally looks a lot like Barney. He is a little weird, but has good intentions. He wants children to eat appropriately, to buy toys that are only good for their intellectual development, and avoid product placement at all costs. Unfortunately, he is in television world now, and he has people coming at him from all angles. The studio execs (Catherine Keener) want to make money, his agent (Danny DeVito, who also directs) wants to make money, the mob wants to make money - oh, and the old host, Rainbow Randolph (Williams), wants his job back, and he will do anything - including murder - to make his dream come true. All in all, it is a story of media corruption and the dark, twisted world of children's entertainment.
As expected, Death to Smoochy is filled with strange, twisted humor, generally highlighted by the two male leads. Williams is on the verge of absolute insanity, while Norton is so good-natured and innocent it is almost sickening (so he's played a Neo-Nazi, a priest, a thief, a killer and now a Barney-like figure). There are a few genuine laughs but nothing very notable; I saw this movie a week ago and can hardly remember anything about it. Danny DeVito did a good job of making strange, conflicting characters, but forgot that these people need to be entertaining to watch. After a few minutes, it was hard to watch such extreme characters. Oh, and the script gets tired after a little while.
Death to Smoochy has a point, but it gets lost in the jumble of a story. There are so many dark little storylines going on that I lost interest after a while, and the script isn't written well enough to hold one's attention. After about half an hour, everything that you need to see has been seen, and the rest is just filler that spirals downwards into a world darker than I needed to see.
Death to Smoochy was nowhere as bad as I was expecting it to be, and it had some moments here and there, but after everything is said and done, it is just one of those movies that will and should be forgotten in a couple of years.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.