Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Death to Smoochy (2002)
Just wasn't funny
Contains some spoilers.
I'd like to start out by saying that I love black comedies. Even ones like Very Bad Things. And Election is one of my favorite movies. I also really like most of Danny Devito's other movies (Throw Momma From the Train and War of the Roses).
That being said, I didn't like Death to Smoochy. The main reason being that I did not think it was that dark of a comedy.
Dark comedy is making patte out of a dog then serving it to its owner (War of the Roses (I know it didn't really happen, but still...)). Its a high school teacher thinking of one of his students as he has sex with his wife (Election). Its systematically killing off your classmates and staging them as liberating suicides (Heathers). All these instances go beyond the social limitations of its time, crossing lines of what people can do to achieve their goals. It is *not* penis-shaped cookies being shown to little kids. That is no more than a plain bathroom sight gag. Nor is it singing kids songs in front of a Nazi convention or having sex with a man in Barney suit. These instances only provide slightly humorous situations, but do not break any social conventions. Dark comedy has to hit you with a mac truck when you're looking the other way. Death to Smoochy taps you on the shoulder, then gives you a bad joke.
I keep going over other scenes in Death to Smoochy (the Nazi convention, the ice skating, etc.) and I fail to see the dark humor, or any humor for that matter. Is it only funny because they're hosts of kid shows? I find that to be way too small of a reason to make it humorous. And every other aspect of the movie is generic. In the other movies I mentioned, the humor comes from the twisted things the characters do, and its disturbing regardless of who they are. In Death to Smoochy, no character does anything really outrageous. Rainbow seeks revenge on Smoochy, and does some pretty standard things to get that revenge. What, he plants him at a Nazi convention? Whoopdee-frickin-doo, that's hilarious - sarcasm. A very similar thing happens in Rat Race, which is your standard screwball comedy, and it wasn't terribly funny there either. Then theres the former boxer with no rhythm. He gets a few chuckles here and there, but again, just some standard shtick. Maybe I'm too jaded, but I just didn't find these scenes (or most others, but I won't go into all of them) funny in any respect.
The movie does have some funny parts: the songs we're pretty good, the cookies got a laugh, and maybe a couple of other scenes. But in the end, where's this dark comedy that everyone talks about? What twisted things do these characters do? I sure can't find them. The characters have some pretty normal desires, and go about fulfilling them in some fairly normal ways, whether it was through a hitman, an agent, or an old fashioned gun. That is *not* dark comedy. Dark comedy would have the characters doing demented things to get the job done, like the ones I mentioned before. The characters in Death to Smoochy do nothing we haven't seen many times before in other movies.
And since when do dark comedies have happy endings? Doesn't that go against the standards of a dark comedy? And the ending of Death to Smoochy isn't just happy, its serene. A bad choice in my book.
Bottom line: if you're a fan of dark comedies, don't expect anything original here. And if you aren't a fan of dark comedies, stay away all together.