Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Self reference is tired stuff
MY NAME IS BRUCE (2007)
D. BRUCE CAMPBELL
Once upon a time I could understand all the adulation that people heaped upon Bruce Campbell. Back in the day that seemed like a lifetime ago when he was just a working sclubb trying to make it happen while making B movies. Doing decent work in sometimes decent little movies and occasionally making those movies better. But then somewhere along the line the "cult of Bruce" developed. That vicious cycle where people begin to worship an actor just for being who they are and in turn the actor stops doing the interesting work and instead develops themselves as a commodity. Bruce Campbell stopped being a B-movie actor and started focusing on being the character of Bruce Campbell. What's funny is that he went from being a basically fun loving, gregarious guy that when you met him was decent and fun to interact with, to a caricature of himself who played up the "Hollywood actor" thing and started treating people lousy as part of his schtick. I met him once when he was in my home town to do a bit of outdoor theater and his was the sweetest nicest guy to me. He came back a year later to premier his shitfest directorial debut film THE MAN WITH THE SCREAMING BRAIN and was a dick and pretty much insulted the audience and the previous year's production. After that we started getting commercials with Bruce playing this Bruce character, and him writing a book from this point of view. It was only a matter of time before a movie would come along.
The Movie is MY NAME IS BRUCE and it is frankly a mess. In fact I wouldn't even had watched if a friend hadn't challenged me to. My Friend Bryan likes to do what he calls the "ANCHORMAN Challenge" where he makes us watch terrible comedies under the challenge that we will beak and actually laugh at some point, based obviously on the terrible movie ANCHORMAN. Well I made it through MY NAME IS BRUCE without laughing.
The story concerns a small redneck town in which a teenager while trying to impress some girl (and who happens to be the world's biggest Bruce Campbell fan) lets loose a Chinese demon from the local mines. Meanwhile Bruce Campbell, played by Bruce Campbell, is having a bad time with his career. He's a drunk, an obnoxious loser, his ex wife is banging his agent who will only get him the lousiest movies possible. He's a self absorbed idiot loser that we are supposed to think is such a schlub that he is lovable. But he is just annoying really. The kid ends up kidnapping him to fight the Chinese demon, but Bruce Thinks it is all part of some big play for a movie and doesn't realize it is real. Supposedly hilarity ensues. But you'll be groaning at the used and tired jokes you've seen before. Years ago, in movies from Peter Sellers and even he thought the sucked when he was doing them. There's an avalanche of EVIL DEAD and Sam Raimi references as if to remind you that Bruce was once in decent movies and to pacify the film geeks who would be the target audience. Oddly enough most of the jokes make fun of them too. The comedy consists of things like Ted Raimi in full Chinese make up talking with a bad accent, or Bruce with and angel and a devil both played by him arguing on his shoulders. Sad shit indeed.
The movie tries to keep it lighthearted, but the overwhelming sense of smugness keeps it from ever being very funny at all. I'm sure this whole thing is an act on Bruce Campbell's part but it is a slightly repellent one that I personally find a huge turnoff. The whole project stinks of what he thinks an audience wants from a Bruce Campbell movie, not what a good movie should be.
The only saving grace for me was the lead actress, who only shows up at the halfway point I might ad, Grace Thorsen. It's hard to say if she is a great actress or anything because the material is so weak. But my god is she hot! She has the best set of boobs I have seen in a movie in a long, long time. Though she never unleashes them, which for a project this lame, I can't say I blame her. But when she was onscreen I wasn't bored, stiff maybe, but not bored.