Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Old Spice Commercials Were Better...

I can clearly remember the day it happened. When my love affair happened. Twelfth grade. It was a good year. 1999. I sought it out and caressed the sharp edges and thrust it hard into the willing slot. It was my first time. And it was GLORIOUS.

Army of Darkness. VHS. Full screen. Without any more vaguely sexual metaphors, I can safely say that summer changed me into the film buff that I am today. There were many films that summer and Army of Darkness was a shining beacon amongst them.

Army of Darkness opened my eyes and introduced me to the awesomeness of Bruce Campbell. You may not know his name, but I'd put wager good money that you've seen him in something. Spider-Man(one, two or three!)? Hell, he spent a season as a recurring cast member on Ellen. Fact is, the guy isn't a big star but he's a face and he's got a fan base. I count myself in that select group.

So, when I hear news of a movie starring Campbell playing Campbell...well, I get excited. Sadly, this should be a lesson in tempering expectations...

My Name Is Bruce stars Campbell as himself. Campbell is a hard drinking, obnoxious prink, who is stuck making C-grade sequels to awful direct-to-video(or Sci-Fi Channel originals)movies. He's just gone through a divorce, his cast and crew members hate him and for good reason. As portrayed Campbell is a total ass. His only "friend" seems to be his agent Mills Toddner(the always affable Ted Raimi) and even Mills is repeatedly fired and rehired by Campbell on a whim.

Meanwhile, in the small town of Gold-Lick, not all is right. Jeff, Campbell's most obsessively dedicated fan, is trying to get lucky in a decrepit cemetery when he unwittingly unlocks Guan-Di! Guan-Di, the ancient Chinese god of war(and bean curd) kills Jeff's friends and begins to terrorize the small town.

Of course, the only thing for the good...stupid...folks of Gold-Lick to do is send Jeff to kidnap Bruce Campbell., as I mentioned above the townsfolk are stupid.

Campbell thinks that the town's plight is an elaborate birthday present concocted by Mills and decides to play along, until he comes face to face with the demon.

The plot is paper thin. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, if the jokes were any good. But they aren't. Racist stereotypes, gay jokes, and retreads of old Campbell movie jokes are the best you'll find here. Occasionally there will be something worth tittering at, but these gems come too far and few between to make the rest of the movie worth watching.

Characters attitudes change between scenes with absolutely no context. Literally, Jeff's mother goes from vehemently hating Campbell to being in love with him in thirty seconds.

The most consistent thing about the script is the tired-ass "Bruce, your hand is in an inappropriate place" joke that is repeated at least eight times.

Campbell himself is portrayed as a complete ass. Which I'm sure was meant to be funny, but he's obnoxious here. The real Campbell is sincere and funny in a self-deprecating way. Why couldn't the movie show that Campbell?

Campbell serves as director on this flick, and while he doesn't do a terrible job, it is very clear that this movie was always meant to go down the direct-to-video route. It's lit like a bad television show.

The acting is awful right across the board. Everyone who isn't named Bruce Campbell or Ted Raimi(who plays THREE separate characters) is just horrendous.

So, there I was, watching the credits roll at the end of the movie. When I see the writing credit pop on the screen. Mark Verheiden? Why does that name sound so familiar? Power of IMDB, GO! Battlestar Galactica? THE OATH? No. Noo, no, no, no, no, no...dear God. NO! How does the man responsible for what is arguably one of the greatest Battlestar episodes(Gaeta's attempted coup of Galactica) write...this.

Looks like BSG is Verheiden's yin to this steaming pile of yang.

In the end, My Name Is Bruce is a jumble of wasted opportunities. It seems that the producers were aiming to MAKE a Bruce Campbell film by making an awful movie. It's all very meta and terribly mediocre. This one is strictly for fans of Bruce Campbell. And by fans, I mean super obsessed "I-love-The-Man-With-The-Screaming-Brain" fans. All others need not bother.

1 chainsaw hand out of 5

'Till next Time!

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