out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Death To Smoochy
Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4
Set in the superficially benign world of children's television, this
deliciously wicked comedy is a satiric riff on the "Death to Barney" concept.
Robin Williams plays "Rainbow Randolph," the foul-mouthed, degenerate host of a
hit kiddy show. He's a major success until he's busted by the FBI for taking
bribes. Embarrassed, the Kidnet president demands a squeaky clean replacement,
and there's no one with higher ethics than Sheldon Mopes (Edward Norton) a.k.a.
"Smoochy," a friendly fuchsia rhinoceros. "You can't change the world," Sheldon
says, "but you can always make a dent." So on orders from her boss (Jon
Stewart), a cynical programming exec (Catherine Keener) reluctantly grooms the
guileless cornball for stardom, introducing him to the corporate corruption,
bribery and duplicity of TV broadcasting. But idealistic Sheldon is into
creativity (watch for a biting song about stepfathers), not merchandising mania,
trusting Randolph's former agent (Danny DeVito) while befriending an
over-the-hill boxer/restaurateur (Michael Rispoli) and his Irish Mafia sister
(Pam Ferris). Meanwhile, the broke, homeless, revenge-obsessed Randolph
declares, "Death to Smoochy!" - and shows the righteous rhino just how
complicated and dangerous life outside the Magic Jungle can be by tricking him
into performing at a Neo-Nazi convention. Directed like a crazed,
two-dimensional cartoon by Danny DeVito from a screenplay by Adam Resnick, this
is a crude, vulgar, R-rated black comedy so edgy, dark and warped that it's
definitely NOT for children - culminating in a musical climax, a slick skating
saga called "Smoochy on Ice." On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Death to
Smoochy" is a demonic, flat-out funny 8. It's a hip, sophisticated adult comic
strip with heart.
Copyright © 2002 Susan Granger
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