Death to Smoochy

Title: Death to Smoochy
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Comedy
Starring: Edward Norton, Robin Williams, Catherine Keener, Danny DeVito, Jon Stewart

“Bastard Son of Barney! Die! Die, stuffed ball of fluff! Illegitimate Teletubbie! Die, you Muppet from hell! Die, you foam motherfucker!”

Could you imagine DeVito presenting a childrens TV show? As a star and director he recruits the help of Ed Norton (Smoochy) and Robin Williams (Rainbow Randolph), to take you on a comical journey to the criminal underbelly of children’s entertainment. Following the story of Smoochy, the good-hearted Rhino striving to teach children about decent values, where he receives a crash course in learning what really happens behind the scenes; filled with Irish gangsters, cut-throat charity organisations, Nazi followers, and a more than slightly insane ex-entertainer by the name of Rainbow Randolph. Bitter at the loss of his job to Smoochy, a plot of revenge is sown to bring an abrupt end to his career, but make no mistake about it, this was rated R for a reason.

As expected from a cast of this calibre, the performances each give are excellent. Norton who has become more noticed for his more serious roles delivers a shockingly well performed deadpan innocence to the naïve character of Smoochy, working perfectly in contrast with the diabolical insanity of William’s character, where his fast-talking and vocally expressive style is perfectly suited to the role. Even the love interest (Keener) was performed with a certain originality, this could so easily have been a simple mockery of children’s TV show presenters, but instead it takes a look at the actors behind the lens, and doesn’t simply resort to mocking their profession.

At nearly two hours long, it is fairly lengthy for most comedies, but with the amount in the script this is hardly surprising. Well written so as to slowly introduce us to each of the characters behind the scenes, the comparatively complex plot at no point becomes confusing, and whilst the love interest was rather predictable, it didn’t feel unnatural, nor did it dwell on this for too long a period of time. Why this satirical black comedy is rarely mentioned is beyond me, as it delivers on something few films can lay claim to; originality.

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