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Death to Smoochy
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Death to Smoochy More at IMDbPro »

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70 out of 89 people found the following review useful:

Sick...demented...hilarious!!!!!

7/10
Author: mattymatt4ever from Jersey City, NJ
19 September 2002

Screw all those crappy reviews! This is a wonderful film! First of all, I was hoping to one day see a movie about the actors behind a children's TV show who are completely nuts in real life. Well, I got my wish. I would say that Adam Resnick (the writer) stole my idea, but I had no exact thoughts on where to go with the premise. Well, Resnick went really far with this wonderful premise and in result we have this dark, alluring, hilarious comedy!

The cast is absolutely topnotch! I read one review slamming Edward Norton's performance in the film, saying that he phoned in his performance. Sure, his performance in this film doesn't QUITE measure up to those in "Primal Fear" and "Rounders," but he did one hell of a job, and I can tell he researched the role very well to the point where he completely disappeared into the character. Whether it's a dramatic or comedic role, Norton always immerses himself in his roles. Though you can classify him as the straight man in this wacky satire, he says and does a lot of things that had me cracking up, without any humorous intentions. The only thing that disappointed me slightly was that Robin Williams didn't have as big a role as I expected. In the first 45 minutes, we only see him intermittently. Actually, Norton really has the starring role and if Robin weren't a more popular actor, he probably would've been billed first. Norton's one of my favorite actors, but I believe if you're gonna bill an actor as the star, he better be the star! But Robin Williams was still in top form. Catherine Keener is beautiful, yet entirely convincing as an ego-driven TV executive. Jon Stewart doesn't have too many funny scenes, but his goofy Jerry Lewis haircut was enough to make me crack up. Danny Woodburn--Mickey from "Seinfeld"--shows off his fine acting skills, playing more than just the "little guy." The always-amusing Vincent Schiavelli makes a few appearances towards the end. Michael Rispoli is both hilarious and likable as the simple-minded ex-fighter, Spinner. Danny DeVito proves yet again that his skills behind the camera match his talents in front of the camera.

I don't suppose "Death to Smoochy" will be receiving any major Oscars, but it should at least be nominated for Best Art Direction. The sets, lighting and color pallette are absolutely incredible. As grim as it is, it's a beautiful film to look at.

This is an R-rated comedy with a well-deserved "R." There's tons of profanity and some truly crude (though not disgusting, thankfully) sex gags. If you're in the mood for an old-fashioned, Cary Grant-type screwball comedy--you will be sorely appalled. Nevertheless, the humor is smart and witty, just drenched in cynicism. When Norton was doing the show and pulled out a cookie shaped like a man's genitals and Robin started screaming at the kids what it really is, I was dying with laughter. You may not feel good about laughing at some of these jokes, but the sense of humor doesn't lie. But as cynical as it is, I didn't feel the movie was mean-spirited. Because I'm often turned off by mean-spirited comedies. I guess it's because as scummy as these characters prove to be, there's at least one redeeming quality about each of them. Sure, Rainbow Randolph is a loud, obnoxious drunk. He lost his TV show. They snatched his dream, because of one little bribery slip-up. So he's not a saint. Is Mister Rogers a saint? As far as we know, but how do we know for sure he wasn't in the same theater as Pee Wee Herman, disguised in a fake moustache and beard, pleasuring himself as well? Whatever the public don't know can't hurt them.

I was glad to see that the movie averaged a 6.9 rating on the IMDB. I was expecting a rating much lower, after its poor box office records and countless bad reviews from major critics. Well, I had a blast! It's an energetic, upbeat, fun-filled journey with a ton of laughs. I surely hope it one day reaches cult status. And the sequence over the closing credits is perfectly delightful. If you love Robin Williams and think he's one of the funniest men in the planet, if you're a fan of the great Edward Norton, if you think Catherine Keener is really hot, if you think Danny DeVito is a genius or if you simply wanna have a barrel of laughs--"Death to Smoochy" will keep you alive with pleasure.

My score: 7 (out of 10)

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52 out of 63 people found the following review useful:

An Original Adult Comedy

8/10
Author: tabuno from utah
1 October 2002

Death to Smoochy pushes the envelope of comedy, only to fail because it couldn't find the right audience. This comedy is amazing for its intensity and biting scenes that run side by side with comedy, there are dark scenes, harder dramatic elements not usually seen in regular comedies. Yet, this fun, entertaining, and cerebral comedy has great elements of timing, acting, and directing. Not for children, but the nature of plot (doesn't automatically capture any other audience), this sleeper comedy is a must see, because it breaks out of the mold of funny comedies into a more sophisticated, grown up form of laughter and comedical relief.

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56 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

Hillarious dark comedy

10/10
Author: Spanner-2 from United States
29 March 2002

This film is a dark comedy directed by Danny DeVito about the cut throat world of children's television. In this film, a popular children's show host (Robin Williams, more madcap than he's been in ages) gets caught taking a bribe and is fired, being replaced by the squeaky clean Smoochy the Rhino (Edward Norton, who is excellent in the role). Of course the former host wants his job back and sets out to "get" Smoochy... Of course everything but the kitchen sink gets thrown into the plot from organized crime to Nazis.. and everything is hillarious. A very dark film that is rated "R" for language, this film is bound to be somewhat controversal as some may be offended by the language and view of childrens programming portrayed here, but if you have an open mind going in the film is drop dead funny.. It does tend to drag a tad in the midsection as a subplot about a disabled former boxer gets tacked on, but the film is very entertaining and worth catching at the theatre. GRADE: A-

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38 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

I smiled through the whole film (when I wasn't laughing)

8/10
Author: Rogue-32 from L A.
31 March 2002

I've never seen a Danny De Vito film I didn't like, and Smoochy is no exception. Original and creative at every turn, with great performances from Edward Norton, Robin Williams, Catherine Keener, and everyone else in the cast. I smiled and/or laughed through the whole film. What more can you ask from a bent and twisted comedy, I ask you?

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40 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Smart, subtle and smooth(-chy)

Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
19 January 2004

It figures that Death to Smoochy didn't get too much advertisement and recommendations...it handles about a sensible and often occurring topic. Entertainment programs for children that are turned into big business, rules and controlled by people who don't care about anything but money, fame and commercializing. Death to Smootch shows how it's perfectly possible to cover up a world of bribery, fraud and blackmail behind the curtains of a colorful and jolly kid-show. Edward Nortons stars as Smoochy the Rhino. His character is dragged head over heals into the business when old-timer Rainbow Randolph is convicted of illegal actions. Smoochy is a pure character and his only intentions are to educate children and enlighten them with some important values of life, but he soon gets faced with the facts that the producers don't care about this at all. Death to Smoochy really succeeds in critisizing the greed in the media-business and manages to portray the producers and sponsors as a real bunch of vultures. It also gives a good image of the downward spiral of insanity someone is going through when he's borne down on the lee shore. Certainly recommended for the intriguing story and surrounding but in the very first place, for the brilliant characters that are involved in this story. The Irish mobsters impress and entertain the most...The sequences where they're "taking care of everything" are the funniest parts in this movie. Director DeVito (his fifth movie as a director and maybe the best of them all) cast himself terrifically as the greedy shorty who introduces himself as the new impresario. Jon Stewart's character is memorable because he has the dorkiest haircut I've ever seen. And then there's Edward Norton of course...needless to say that he's a very solid actor who acts like a true professional, no matter if the production is huge or not. Give Death to Smoochy a watch...it'll certainly be one of the most sparklingly satires you'll ever see.

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28 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly Good, And Nicely-Filmed Black Comedy

9/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
10 February 2007

I'm almost embarrassed to say it but I really enjoy this film. I say that because of the humor is sick, mainly the tirades spouted by Robin Williams (especially with kids nearby). Otherwise, this black comedy offers a really wonderful character as the lead good guy: "Smoochy the Rhino," played well by Edward Norton. How Norton could deliver some of these lines with a straight face is beyond me. He must have required numerous takes. He's a real hoot in here.

Despite what you might have read from national critics, there are a lot of laughs in this film. I also thought the cinematography was interesting with vivid, fascinating colors and some nice closeup shots. For a comedy, I don't expect photography to be as good as it is in here. Kudos to the director and cinematographer.

Williams, as the bitter dethroned kiddies TV host, " 'Rainbow' Randolph Smiley," is, well.....Robin Williams, which means very profane and very funny. I expect that sort of profanity out of him, and he gets away with it here and there because of his great comedic talent, but I hate to hear it from female leads who are supposed to be likable. That's the case with Catherine Keener, who seems to play a lot of these hard-looking, foul- mouthed women.....although "Smoochy" finally softens her up by the end of this story.

At any rate, you have to appreciate black comedy and this kind of almost-perverse humor, to like this movie. Of acquaintances who have viewed this film, I am the only one who liked it

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19 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Hilariously intelligent and original satire.

10/10
Author: maz underscore from Australia
26 February 2007

With a brilliant cast, well written script and precise direction, this black comedy is well worth watching.

I can understand that some people didn't like it, as black comedy isn't for everyone; especially black comedy set around the business of children's television. But Death to Smoochy is an intelligent and well written film that is completely original.

Edward Norton is spot on as the moralistic Sheldon Mopes and Robin Williams is absolutely hilarious as the off the rails Rainbow Randolph. This doesn't however, take away from the rest of the cast, who are also all perfect.

The story line is tight and entertaining to the very last second. I've looked very hard to find fault with this film - and I can't find any. Even the ending, which could be construed as sugary sweet, fits into the fantasy type world of the film.

The important thing to remember about this film is that it's a satire, and taking a satire seriously is a big mistake. A funny and interesting satire is very hard to do, but in this instance it's something that Adam Resnick and Danny Danny DeVito have achieved brilliantly.

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23 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

A great comedy flawed only by too-dramatic character arcs.

Author: Stoate from United Kingdom
14 July 2004

I would be wrong if I said that Danny DeVito's films were made with full intent to capture the realisms of life, and it is because of his ability to portray an eccentric world (or relationship) that he is able to made the most original and entertaining characters known to film.

For example, although he didn't create the character Matilda, he was able to portray the girl with telekinetic ability in a very effective manner in the film of the same name. And also the characters in 'War of the Roses' were thoroughly over-the-top, but it was because of this that the films directed by the short man were so entertaining.

'Death to Smoochy' was no exception. It is because of the over-the-top characters that it is so funny. Edward Norton's character in particular is hilarious just because of the OTT reactions the 'atrocities' of the world draw out of him, and the overly-nice attitude he oozes.

There are other things that create humour. The lines are hilariously witty and even the facial expressions created by some of the characters give the film replay value. So IS there anything wrong with it?

I, personally, don't believe the dated storyline creates an obstruction, but I do feel that there is a problem with the dramatic character arcs. The biggest example of this is Robin Williams' character who goes, in one scene, from being ridiculously hateful, to wanting nothing more than to save his ex-arch-rival. This is where the over-the-top obstructs believability, although it doesn't do enough to make me dislike the film even partially.

The film, although flawed only by the very dramatic character arcs, is thoroughly enjoyable, and DeVito sprinkles just enough dramatic camera angles to support the extremity of the storyline. It is a rare gem, battered at the box office, but very safe in my collection of favourite DVDs.

Enjoy.

-Stoate.

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27 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Great film - if you're looking for a laugh out loud affair

Author: g_asal_98 from United Kingdom
21 January 2005

This film's been released on DVD for a while and at my local blockbusters, i noticed it quietly sitting in a corner next to Day after tomorrow and dirty dancing 2. But as i work in blockbusters, i get free rentals every week so thought i might as well rent it out. Man, was i in for a shocker!! Talk about totally hilarious.

Some of the gags in this film were quality - Robin Williams is at his comical best. I'm not saying it's Williams' best ever film (cough good will hunting cough) but certainly he's never been this funny. His gag about the abnormally shaped cookie was so funny. In fact, i've never laughed this much since Dumb and Dumber.

Edward Norton was actually very believable as the clean cut good guy. I didn't expect it from him after watching Fight club and American history X but he carried out his role really well.

Catherine Keener also looked really beautiful, she played her power-hungry turned nice chick character to a tee.

Even though the story is about a kids show, there's a lot of dark comedy in it e.g. the involvement of the Irish gangsters (by the way also very funny) showing what a good job Danny devito has done directing this film. Credit to him. All the characters in the film served a purpose and above all, did it well!! All seemed believable and Robin Williams was the star.

If you watch this film, persevere for the first 20 minutes because after which the jokes and plot come in hard and thick.

Top stuff, rent if you want a comedy with original storyline and a little bit of good humoured smut thrown in for good measure.

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31 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Latest version of NETWORK

9/10
Author: BadWebDiver from Perth, Australia
9 January 2004

Am I the only one who sees this as a modern spin on the movie NETWORK?!? The parallels are extraordinary. Both are about executives finding a new talent that they want to exploit to the general public, but when he becomes too popular, they want to get rid of him. Sure the outcome and general details vary, but the basic theme is virtually identical.

I'm going on the record to say I actually enjoyed this story a lot. The light fluffy delivery made a good contrast to the deep black ideas being played on. The leads played their characters to the right tone, and the supports showed off brilliantly. A wicked treat.

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