Hush (1998) Poster

(1998)

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8/10
Good film despite the obvious clichés. Acting manages to save it from the total obscurity
Rodrigo_Amaro29 September 2012
"Hush" is the kind of film that's so easy that it should work right on the first view but it's not the case. I remember watching it a few years ago and finding one of the most boring things I've ever seen except for the outstanding acting of Jessica Lange. Fate pulls its strings sometimes and one of those nights when you're desperate for something to show up on TV and there you go, there was this and I got a little gripped into seeing it again, this time paying more attention to details. Well, it turned out to be quite a good film, undeserving the low rating that is getting now.

A twisted and thrilling tale about acceptance and skeletons in the closet? You can say that. Gwyneth Paltrow plays the lovable Helen, a successful and beautiful woman, loved by a man who's also both of the fore-mentioned qualities, the great Jackson (Johnathon Schaech) of the powerful Baring family. But he has a mother, the surprising Martha (Jessica Lange) of whom Helen always tries to please to the best since Jackson and his mom has some strong bonds between them and she wants to be part of this quite perfect family. Habitual to flicks of the same caliber, there's secrets, tension between both women and a certain disdain the old lady feels for the younger and it's up to Helen to discover what's the problem with the Baring family. Her only great ally is Jackson's grandmother (Nina Foch, excellent), father of Martha's late husband, and keeper of some family secrets that can storm a big mess in everyone's lives.

There isn't much to be said about "Hush" except that the cast is great, even though they're not at their greatest moment. Except Lange and Foch who are brilliant, and the memorable special appearance of Hal Holbrook as the doctor. But it's Lange who steals the show playing a pitiful villain, sometimes adorable, other times really cruel but most of the time always in control of the situation. The plot should include more characters to make this more tense and less concentrated in those three main characters. The relationship between Jackson and Martha could've go to more controversial ways, cause everything seems to indicate that (the scene where he's covered in mud and she cleans him, they're like pretending it's just a silly joke. There's something going on there).

I know Jonathan Darby has directed better films (like the criminally underrated and almost forgotten "The Enemy Within" with Forest Whitaker) but what he makes here is quite good, never cheap and at the most entertaining to watch for its cast and the beautiful cinematography. 8/10
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7/10
Better Than the IMDb Rating
weasl-729-3106824 December 2014
I agree with several other reviewers that this movie is underrated here.

It keeps your interest, especially if you like horses, and the contrast between hectic, noisy, frustrating, randomly violent, dirty, inhumane city life and the clean air and soothing charms of the "simple life" in the country (which now costs much more than most of us can afford).

I think both Jessica Lange and Gweneth Paltrow handled their roles with aplomb. Anyone who's seen Lange in "Blue Sky" with Tommy Lee Jones will not be a bit surprised at her ability to successfully carry off a full-on lunatic.

I think people may be a little put off by the happy ending from a lower budget, non-mainstream film, but what do I know?

Well, I know I liked it more than it's rated on here, and I'd recommend it to friends. A masterpiece, it isn't, but I'd consider it entertaining and worthy of your time if you like mystery/thrillers set mostly in beautiful country surroundings with good acting.
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Not too bad
Gordon-1122 February 2004
From the low score it has got from the IMDB users, i didn't expect too much. I only watched it to see Gywneth Paltrow. Indeed, the first half of the film was not too impressive. The scenes tended to be fragmented. As more of the plot was unveiled, the film became intense and engaging. I think this film deserves slightly more points than it has got.
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8/10
Underrated and unappreciated
perfectbond4 March 2003
I am quite frankly astonished by the low imdb average for this film. I thought it was a more than respectable suspense thriller. It definitely kept me riveted throughout. Gwenyth Paltrow, who was offered Kate Winslet's part in Titanic at the time she committed to this project, devles into her role as the unsuspecting fiancee with grace and down to earth affability. But this is clearly Jessica Lange's film. Her psychotic mother-in-law is one of the most disturbing characters I have come across in any film. In my opinion this film rates an 8/10.
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Creepy but good quality
vchimpanzee16 August 2007
Jackson Baring takes his girlfriend Helen to his family's horse farm Kilronin. Jackson's mother Martha has been running the place but would like her son to take over. Jackson and Helen are living together in New York City and are reluctant to leave that life. But Helen somehow gets pregnant, even though she was using birth control, and the two get married and eventually do take over the farm.

Jackson blames himself for his father's death when he was 7. Martha knows the truth but won't tell him, and she seems to have an unnatural relationship with her son. It's almost as if she sees his father and wants to be with him in that way. And she sees the baby as a means of continuing the legacy, but not a child to be loved, at least not in the way most people would. Her treatment of Helen is strange, as if Helen is only useful until the baby is born, and then she will be in the way.

The ending is exciting and sort of creepy at the same time.

Jessica Lange does a fine job here as Jackson's overly controlling and demented mother. However, Nina Foch gives the standout performance as Jackson's grandmother, who is kept in a fancy nursing home because only she knows the truth about how her son died.

I think all the leading actors did a good job here. I usually can't stand Debi Mazar, who was a co-worker to Helen and possibly her boss, but I would like to have seen more of her here. But if Helen had to move out of New York, I guess keeping her job was out of the question.

I suppose my favorite scene was the one where Helen gets out of bed naked and meets her mother-in-law for the first time. That one was edited for TV in such a way it seemed kind of jerky and I didn't get to see much, but a lot depends on how one sees this movie.

It's not typical of what I like in a movie, but still entertaining.
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8/10
What is good about this film.
tazmania76_9926 March 2005
Though this movie was somewhat slow and predictable it brings out the worst side of Jessica Lange. She had an outstanding performance as the evil Mother-In-Law to Gweneth Paltrow. I have never seen her in a role as evil as this one. I believe that Gweneth showed the strength and heart of her character. She lost both her parents, was mugged in her own home and then stands up to her Mother-In-Law to prove to her husband what an evil person his mother is. Way to go!!! Personally I liked this movie. What the movie doesn't bring out right away is the lengths that "Martha" will go to take the baby and keep her son on the farm. This movie is one of the best suspense movies that I've seen in a while.
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6/10
Hush hush sweet Gwen!
dbdumonteil26 January 2005
If you take it for what it is,a feast of camp,then this movie (and particularly Lange) is much fun to watch.Probably influenced by Davis's (see "hush hush sweet Charlotte") and Crawford's end of career ( see "straitjacket"),Jessica Lange gives an over the top performance of the bitchiest mother-in-law you can think of.Always a beaming smile on her face even when she 's at her most sadistic.Her bubble head son seems not to have overcome his Oedipus complex;when at the turning of the year,"Auld lang syne" is played,he dances with his mom.As for the wedding ,he seems to marry her. Besides,being able to lead a normal life

after what we learned from his "education" is hard to believe ;a boy like him would have normally ended up like cousin Sebastian in "Suddenly last Summer".

This extravaganza has also intellectual pretensions:in the church ,Martha keeps on reciting her act of contrition while quoting the Ruth Book in the Bible;in her troubled mind ,her unfortunate daughter-in-law becomes Ruth ,whose affection to mother-in-law Naomi reflects her own situation.

If you're not a highbrow,and if you like old-fashioned cheesy melodramas "Hush" is made for you.If you're a "pulp fiction" fan,well,please pass by.
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4/10
High camp in Virginia
jotix10022 April 2005
Jonathan Darby is credited with the writing/directing of this misconceived movie. As an auteur, Mr. Darby, doesn't bring anything new to the medium. "Hush" proves to be a total waste as it appears Mr. Darby had nothing in the way to control the over the top campy performance of Jessica Lange.

Ms. Lange is at her worst as Martha, the evil mother behind all the scheming in the film. Her love for her son, and hatred for her daughter-in-law, gives the actress an opportunity to do some of the worst emoting in any film in recent memory. Gwyneth Paltrow must be questioned for her choice of material. Didn't she smell the aroma in reading the script? Oh well, let's hope she was able to ask for millions of dollars for appearing in this turkey. Jonathan Schaech doesn't fare better. Nina Foch is the only one who comes out the best in her small role of Alice, Martha's wise mother-in-law who has seen right through what's going on.

This is a film to watch with friends after having a few drinks, then one might enjoy the "masterpiece" some avid fans thought "Hush" was.
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Hush
Jamie-5814 October 2000
Jessica Lange commenced her career by following in the (admittedly light) footsteps of Fay Wray. She seems determined to end it by stomping in the heavier footfalls of middle-period Joan Crawford. As the cyclonic star of this film, Lange runs the gamut. She flings her arms around, tugs at her hair, reverts to that coy, sideways glance that implies she's only about, oh, forty five, bellows out in growling chest tones, sobs hysterically - she does, to state it simply, the lot.

Which leaves her co-stars understandably bewildered. Gwyneth Paltrow manages to look more annoyed than frightened, and when, in the best Scooby Doo manner, she neatly ties up the loose threads of the plot, annoyance gives way to abject boredom. With her dead fish eyes and droning monotone, Gwyn obviously wants the whole thing over with more than we do. Quite an achievement.

And few could blame her. Of all the silly premises that have been put on film, the monster mother is surely the silliest. Its mighty hard to believe that Jessica's Ken doll son has managed to go thirty years without once telling the old cow to put a sock in it. Perhaps I'm a bit obtuse but I still don't quite get the bit about the murder with the suction pump (or whatever it was.) At any rate if some post natal, gormless drip can figure it out surely it shouldn't be taxing the police too much to make an arrest.

That would imply real life of course, and Hush has nothing to do with that. If you're in the market for an aged, raging southern belle then you can't go past this, but have a look at the genuine article - Joan Crawford in "Queen Bee" - first.
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Could have been a Hot B-movie!!
rossini186817 January 2005
Everybody should just relax and enjoy watching a red hot, middle aged Momma's sexual jealousy over her beautiful daughter in law. The photography was great, loved the rural location (without the stupid horses), and Gwyneth and Jessica look as good as they ever have. The problem is that the director tried too hard for believability, and that resulted in a very average, plodding, sometimes laughably bad movie. If they had taken it over the top, like what you find in good novels, (torture, perversion), then we would have had a classic.

Its a shame they held back because Jessica and Gwyneth looked amazing. Who cares if their performances weren't great? Their screen presence made up for it. They were ripe for a deliciously violent, twisted older woman/younger woman B-movie and the director blew it. (Check out Piper Laurie and Sissy Spacek in "Carrie." They set the standard for over the top, twisted mother-daughter action.)
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4/10
Disappointing
robbids14 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This film is quite disappointing, especially considering the big names in its cast. Paltrow is good as always, and Lange is convincing too. But the weakest part is the plot. It lacks any coherence and cannot really convince, even if you watch the film without too much attention (like I did). **Warning: major SPOILERS ahead!** The end is the worst: Jackson got very close to his mother - then one morning Helen tells him she tried to kill her, and he immediately believes her, changes his mind and decides to leave. Even worse: having found out that the woman is a deranged murderer who already killed her husband, they just leave her there without doing anything about it (what about calling the police!?), and go on to leave happily ever after. I give it 4 out of 10.
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3/10
Mediocre film with great cast (3/10)
JMH-329 December 1999
I don't know whether they give Oscars for casting, but if that is the case, the person responsible for casting for this film must be at least a nominee. I'm just amazed how such established actresses as Lange and Paltrow have been agreed to take part in this 'plot is thinner than silk-paper'-film (blackmailing? ;->). Every scene is predictable and the story itself has been told thousand times. There aren't any camera-angles that make you say 'wow, nobody thought of that before' either, so the end-result is very average. I'm all too aware about the existence of bad mother-in-laws, so this one just didn't cut it for me... 3 out of 10.
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4/10
Hush..shss turn your brain off
marbleann2 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
First let's get this out of the way. I have never been a fan of Gwenyth Paltrow, I never understood the fuss surrounding her. She has two expressions one with her mouth is pouting and one of bewilderment. The pouting technique is in high gear in this movie. Now that is over I have to say that for once I actually liked her character. She wasn't some dumb bunny who had to be hit over the head with a brick before she noticed something was up boyfriend/husband mom. Strange the first time I saw them as a couple going into their loft in downtown NYC they looked like John Kennedy Jr and his wife. I am not sure if that is the image we are suppose to get. Anyway there is grandma in the mix which we nothing about until the wedding. And we find out she wasn't invited, she mentioned something about chasing down catering trucks to find out about the wedding. It was hilarious. Right away that should give the viewer who has yet to see the mother is nuts that something is wrong. The new husband seems to be clueless. Actually they could of used anyone including a dead Orson Welles for the part because the hubby really has nothing to do but just be a plot device. He is hubby, son of a nut and that is his role. We find out that the the son also owns the ranch mommy lives on and runs. Another hint something was not right. THen we see that he blames himself for his dads death. It looks like they made that up while they were filming the movie. Because before that we just saw a perfectly normal guy with a nutty mom now we see a victim. Well before all of this she finds out she is having a baby and they get married. One day coming into her loft she get assaulted. This locket which had already been a conversation piece between mommy and daughter in law comes up missing from the assault. Her dead parents picture is in the locket. Now we know Gwennie is all alone without any family other then her future hubby. In other words a perfect victim. OH boy we all know that locket is going to show up again. Why do people in movies keep remnants of their bad deeds?? Throw the stuff out. In any case she is afraid to live home, mommy is threatening to sell the horse farm. So son decides to make a go of the ranch. They move into the house. The hubby is really not seen too much after that other for some occasional nookie and seeing running the ranch. Like I said a dead Orson Welles could of played the part. Mom starts doing some piggy things and Gweenie is astute enough to see what is happening. There is a scene at this horse show and Gwenie sees grandma, she wants to go talk to her and mom tells her she forbids her to talk to her. Well Gwennie turns around and mentions she hasn't been forbidden to do something since she was a teenager. Good for her I say!! She goes to see the grandma but mom yells her name and a horse gets excited and almost harms a pregnant Gwennie, Well Gwen gets off the ground and Yells at mom and tells her "You didn't have to yell" She is not letting up on mom one bit, I loved it. Oh before I forget mom hears Gwennie telling her son that she talked to his grandma and he should see her. After that mom makes a visit to the Home of the Hardly Living (what the grandma calls the nursing home). And warns her to keep away. I swear she was going to kill her in the heating machine but she didn't. Gwen goes for a visit too and finds out that mom was basically a gold digger SURPRISE SURPRPISE! She eventually lets her know that the son didn't kill the dad and he wasn't leaving the mom because of a affair. Well now we know that mom is letting her son take blame for killing his dad. Oh boy. Another thing it seems the mom is interested in male offspring's only. Why we never find out but it is very weird. Heck the whole movie is weird. Gwen who has been smart up to a point all of sudden gets dumb and eats this piece of cake mom insists she eats. The poison induces labor and we see her give birth as mom is talking about the pain. Something she talks about through the movie. Weird. Before that scene we see mom has already got a room ready for the baby and Gwyn is mad. That is why I thought it was out of character for her to eat that cake. Orson Welles shows up eventually after the obligatory wish washy scene and leaves with his wife. Nothing is done about mom and her criminal behavior. I guess they are leaving granny who is a tough nut to take care of it. It is one of those so bad it is god movie. Take a look if there is nothing on. One last thing I find Jessica Lange, who I think is a very good actress always uses cigarettes as a prop when she is playing sassy or devious women, she does it here. All you have to see is her bring that cigarette put it between her fingers hold her hand up and move it backwards palm up out and you know the role she is going to play.
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What a waste of time.
drews8 January 2000
I've just finished watching this movie and the only thing I can think is "I should have done anything else in those 90 something minutes." What was that? I can't even say the plot wasn't OK because there was no plot at all. And how about the preview, full of shots that are not on the film, and give the wrong impression about it. How come Jessica Lange got involved in something like that? Was she in debt with someone?
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8/10
Joseph H. Lewis Redux
boblipton21 March 2002
This stands out as a camp classic of the Joseph H. Lewis variety: there's even a threatening gadget, in this case a steam cabinet. Don't go into this expecting a deep movie and you'll have a lot of fun with the deliberately over-the-top characterizations
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9/10
Great suspense thriller/drama!
DeeDeex1019 December 2012
I thought this was a great suspense thriller. Both Gweneth Paltrow and Jessica Lange were fantastic. As a horse owner, I tend to nit-pick inaccurate "goofs" pertaining to the use of horses, as their usually is, but in this one, I didn't notice any.

I loved the interaction with the Grandmother and one had to wonder throughout the film how the grandmother was going to portray a role in the outcome.

As a woman, a Mother, a wife and who had a domineering Mother-in-law, I kept rooting for Paltrow's character to smack Lang's character and do what needed to be done, not to mention what I would have wanted to do while feeling I had to suck up to my own M.I.L. to keep a marriage intact.
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3/10
bad movie
shuz1 October 1998
I just rented this last weekend and it is a bomb. I am so surprised to see Jessica Lange in something like this. This was totally predictable, but nothing really ever happens. The end is pretty evil, but why didn't they build up to it? Gwyneth Paltrow was so bland, and Jonathan Schaech, who smoldered in "The Doom Generation", was even duller(keep in mind, they have very little to work with). Would you believe a baby is born, yet no one bothers to call a doctor? HELLO, plot hole. Go weed the garden, watch a dog grooming contest, ANYTHING but suffer through this one.
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9/10
Does Gwynneth hit (or show) bottom?
jwb-423 July 1999
Probably neither. Difficult to understand all the negative reviews for this enjoyable and well acted movie. Domineering ambitious mothers do exist. Some of their sons, however good looking, are sometimes both stupid and heterosexual.
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Ludicrous Camp!!!
Bishonen3 December 1998
One of the funniest films from this year! High camp; too bad the direction's so dull that after an hour even the funny bits get drowned out by the tedium. This is the kind of movie that tries to build suspense by having every character act as stupid and inattentive to the obvious as possible.

Jessica Lange does a lot of eye-rolliing, neck-straining and incessant smoking as the wealthy gargoyle mother who has it in for innocent dumbbell daughter in law Gwyneth Paltrow. Jonathan Schaech plays a piece of wood who occasionally stumbles into a scene with other characters. You know Lange's supposed to be evil because she smokes, drinks and has an inexplicable Southern accent (in upstate New York?). The film sports two endings (don't worry, no spoilers here!!!), the first of which is guffaw-inducing just because it's medically not possible, and a final showdown which is incredibly dull and comes out of nowhere. Lots of bad dialogue and far-fetched plot "developments" carry the viewer to the bitter end.

Allegedly this film was held up for massive re-shoots and edits for a whole year. One hopes for a "director's cut" just so we can see what could have been even worse than this hilarious nonsense. Recommended!!!
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"Two Hours of Crap" would have been a better name
Flloyd9 November 1998
The worst Screenplay that ever existed. The whole cast sucked in this movie. I couldn't see Paltrow's bottom set of teeth during the whole movie. The only cool thing that happened was when she puked everywhere and when that guy attacked her with a knife. The rest was crap. The most action was when that guy yelled SHUT UP at the end of the movie. Don't ever watch it and if you already have, my heart goes out to you.
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Huh?
Abs-53 October 1998
Oh my goodness... what were the film-makers thinking? And the writer?! He actually sold this worthless script? And got Paltrow, Lange, and Schaech to star in the movie? Wow. He must've offered lots of money because this movie is not worth a buck. Okay, sources have said that they had to rewrite the original ending because it was horrible... um, I would like to read that ending to see what so bad about it because it couldn't have been that much worse that the pitiful ending we did see. One of the worst movies of 1998. Maybe even decade.
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A waste of talent
gordon-1213 February 1999
With a star cast of Jessica Lange and upcomer Gwyneth Paltrow, how can a movie like this go so wrong?? Was Jessica having thoughts of a third Oscar by playing a psychic mother? It was very difficult to watch her play this role. To make it worse, the viewer has to toil 85 minutes to find a very unsatisfying ending.
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predictability plus!!!
poppet7510 January 1999
Admittedly I saw "Hush" as the second movie of a marathon, and even at 2am it was pretty poor. Gwyneth is pretty good as a damsel in distress, however strong, although she looked a bit too thin in parts. Jessica Lange was ok - and who was that himbo? The plot - who am i kidding there was no plot - was really thin, and such an anticlimax at the end, with everyone just like walking away. I'd give it a 2, and that would only be for scenery.
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4/10
In Need Of A Plot Adjustment
Primtime19 August 1999
Hush is a film that lacks credibility because the plot is more or less unbelieveable. The mother character (Played by Jessica Lange) has a dream that she believes must be fulfilled at any costs. On route to this happening, the story is wasted by using unnecessary characters, loathsome acting and what seems to be the same scenes shot over and over.

Jessica Lange is the highlight of this film. Her performances always seem to steal the show and it is no different here. Now if her choice of films to make were a little wiser, she probably wouldn't have signed on here. Palthrow does well with what she has. Those expecting a "Shakespeare" like performance won't get one because the credibility of the plot takes away from all of the performances. Gwyneth has few opportunities to really act and for some reason is always having her face touched. Why?

The cinematography is average mainly because of the natural beauty of Virginia in the (early?) winter. The film progresses at a torrid pace during the first half-hour without any character build-up that would have formed a bond with the audience. As a scene ends it always seems to tell what is going to happen in the next and this is rather annoying as well. The director only wanted to rush to get to the climax of the film not saving time for any real development.

I don't see how one could really like this film, since it lacks so much. Watching the scene with Lange and the grandmother at the retirement home is about as bad as it gets. There is really no point to that scene of the entire film itself.

4/10 stars.
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1/10
Waste of production dollars
rozrun10 September 2006
This movie starring Jessica Lange and Gwyneth Paltrow has great talent, but the production company obviously spent all its money on the stars' salaries. A film about Kentucky Thoroughbred racing should be filmed in Kentucky, not at a show horse farm in Virginia. The Kentucky Blue Grass region is uniquely identifiable, as is Virginia horse country -- and the two are not interchangeable, even in fiction. It is like making a film about New York City in Los Angeles. Did they think no one would notice? And there are plenty of Thoroughbreds in Virginia, so why did the filmmaker try to pass off big, fat show horses as racehorses? The scene at the horse sale and all its errors are even too ridiculous to mention.

The technical adviser on this film was either asleep or inept, because a scene does not pass without a glowing inaccuracy. Especially noticeable to anyone interested in horses who watches this movie (and I can't imagine anyone else would) are the dangerous ways in which the horses are handled, usually by people who are recognizable as amateurs at handling a horse. The most glaring fax pas surrounds the drug oxytocin that Jessica Lange's character removes from the cabinet: the label clearly states "erythromycin tablets." Again, did the filmmaker think no one would notice?

Literary license is one thing, but this movie goes way, way beyond that and into the depths of the toilet.
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