Death to Smoochy

Not rated yet!
Director
Danny DeVito
Runtime
1 h 49 min
Release Date
28 March 2002
Genres
Comedy, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Overview
Tells the story of Rainbow Randolph, the corrupt, costumed star of a popular children's TV show, who is fired over a bribery scandal and replaced by squeaky-clean Smoochy, a puffy fuscia rhinoceros. As Smoochy catapults to fame - scoring hit ratings and the affections of a network executive - Randolph makes the unsuspecting rhino the target of his numerous outrageous attempts to exact revenge and reclaim his status as America's sweetheart.
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  • Death to Smoochy
    Movies from Film Forum, 03/28/02Hoping for better options? Perhaps you are looking forward to the Robin Williams comedy opening next weekend? If so, you might want to think again. Parents especially should take note that Death to Smoochy is not Williams' typical family-friendly comedy. It's a dark, cynical, and violent caper that apparently fails even as that. Mainstream critics are getting early warnings out to audiences concerning the film.Kirk Honeycutt (Hollywood Reporter) writes that it "is a loud, ugly, irritating movie without any of its satirical salvos hitting a discernible target. A stellar cast consisting of Robin Williams, Edward Norton … and [Danny] DeVito … is over-the-top in shrill performances that are embarrassing. Williams [delivers] the most grating performance of his career. Given the array of talent involved … you have to write this one off to the fact that anyone can have a bad day. But what are the odds that everyone has that bad day on the same day?"Similarly, Alex Nohe (FilmThreat) declares, "The premise is a comedy cliché. A dirty clown? Robin Williams' performance is one-note and is delivered as if the film was a cartoon. Edward Norton's performance as Smoochy is also uninteresting and uninspiring. Outside of watching [Anastas] Michos' career-making performance as a cinematographer, the only other reason to see this would be to witness the difference between 'funny' and 'trying to be funny.'"I'll have reactions from the religious press next week.from Film Forum, 04/04/02In last week's Film Forum, critics warned readers that the new Robin Williams comedy Death to Smoochy was not quite up to snuff. Now that the film is in wide release, the reviews are pouring in, and most critics are bewildered at how a film loaded with so much talent could fall apart so spectacularly. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); Smoochy tells the violent tale of Rainbow Randolph Smiley, who was fired from his post as host of a Barney-like children's television show. Randolph's rage has fermented into devilish plots to bring down his replacement, a simple-minded goof (Edward Norton) who bounces around in a giant purple rhino costume.A critic at the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops says Smoochy "eventually collapses under its own weight, sinking into warped, vicious humor with some gritty violence. After the shock humor and nasty shenanigans are repeated for the nth time … the audience may understandably tune out."Michael Elliott calls it "an uneven production at its best. Robin Williams' shtick is looking more and more forced while being less and less funny. Because we never really accept him as a kiddie show personality, we are never drawn into one of the major conflicts of the story."Dan Buck (Relevant Magazine) writes, "Sometimes the actors/directors are so interested in working with each other, they don't really pay much attention to what it is they choose to work on. Unfortunately … ample talent does not a great movie make."Mainstream critics find the movie dead on arrival. Stephanie Zacharek (Salon.com) writes, "There's lots of manufactured outlandishness … and yet the movie is simply no fun. As a satire of hype and consumer culture, it fails in the worst way.""There's no one to root for in this ponderously 'scathing' thriller-farce," complains Owen Glieberman (Entertainment Weekly). "Death to Smoochy tells a moldy-oldie, not-nearly-as-nasty-as-it-thinks-it-is joke. Over and over again.""It uses four-letter language as if being paid by the word," says Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times). "In all the annals of the movies, few films have been this odd, inexplicable and unpleasant."Michael Wilmington (Chicago Tribune) also disapproves: "It's so predictably vicious that, after a while, there's no surprise. Death to Smoochy is death to satire … a dark comedy that blows up like an exploding cigar, leaving nothing much behind but smoke, noise and a bad taste." googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); By the way, Smoochy is in trouble in real life as well … the producers of the film may be in legal trouble with the producers of the Canadian PBS show Ricky's Room. Apparently Smoochy is too similar to the rhino featured on the Ricky show. Smooch's posters show a purple rhino dead, his horn poking through the black tarp thrown over him. This has the potential, reportedly, to traumatize young fans of Ricky's Room. ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Death to Smoochy: Give It the Kiss-off
    Movies Death To Smoochy - RBest for: Very mature adults who like dark comedies.What it's about: When "Rainbow Randolph" (Robin Williams) is busted for accepting bribes to put children on his successful children's TV show, the Kidnet network president (Jon Stewart) and VP of development (Catherine Keener) find a squeaky clean replacement in Sheldon Mopes (Edward Norton). Kids love "Mr. Smoochy" and his simple songs, colorful rhino costume and sweet demeanor, and success soon follows. As his show becomes a hit, everyone wants to be in on the take. Soon Sheldon has a new agent (Danny DeVito), new Mafioso friends (Pam Ferris, Michael Rispoli) and some acquaintances who aren't so friendly (Harvey Fierstein). Eventually a hitman (Vincent Schiavelli) is hired to kill Sheldon. Will good triumph over evil? And how far or low will network honchos go to please the public?The good: Norton is the surprise in this movie. His character transforms from a no-name performer who sings kiddy songs for drug addicts at a clinic (with lyrics like, "We'll get you off that smack, yes we will, cuz the smack can lead to crack, oh yes it can") to the lovable Mr. Smoochy. Sheldon takes his fame seriously and decides to run things ethically and with integrity, for the sake of the kids. Williams has a few funny lines, but the dark material overshadows the good.The not-so-good: This black comedy doesn't take itself seriously, but it's bizarre characters, unrealistic situations, vengeful behavior and abundant foul language and violence should offend just about everyone. Williams plays one of the most vindictive, psychotic and despicable characters he's ever played. The entire story has violent undertones played as dark comedy, with several deaths and lots of physical violence. Danny DeVito directed this mess, and I can't help but wonder who was amused enough to green-light a movie about twisted, evil men trying to kill the host of a kids' TV show? What target audience were they going for? This is not a movie most people will enjoy.Offensive language and behavior: An abundant amount of profanity and crude dialogue that should offend just about everyone and ruins anything that might otherwise be funny. The "F"-word is a regular part of Williams' dialogue. Lots of other profanity and slang terms, and the use of religious profanity in almost every scene. Several characters drink or get drunk.Sexual situations: Mr. Smoochy reaches into a bag for a cookie and pulls out what appears to be a cookie shaped like a man's sexual organ. He quickly tells the kids it's a rocket ship, but one child runs on stage and admits he made the cookie and switched it, using all sorts of slang terms for male genitals. Nora and Sheldon passionately kiss, and their silhouettes behind a screen depict them stripping and imply that they start to have sex. Nora admits she was a "kiddie-host" groupie and had sex with other male stars.Violence: Silhouetted images of men hitting or torturing a costumed character or man. A couple of scenes show several characters being pushed around or roughed up. Randolph kicks over a TV and smashes it. An assassin tries to kill Sheldon but only shoots off the top of his costume. The assassin then falls to his death and lands on the ice (his body is shown underneath the ice, but there's no blood.)Parental advisory: Needless to say, this is not a children's movie even though the story revolves around a children's TV show. This movie's dark themes and violence make it unacceptable for kids or young teens.Bottom Line: Some Williams fans may be entertained by seeing this twisted, sick side of the actor, but most will be offended. Although there are a few funny scenes between he and Norton, overall, the story is dark, depressing and a waste of money and time. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

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