Death To Smoochy

August 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

Note: With the exception of the memorial picture below, I choose not to make screen-caps for this review. Also, this review is filled with spoilers (even though it’s twelve years since its release) so if you haven’t seen it yet, do watch the movie first and come back to read this review.

Just recently this week, we lost a piece of our childhood, laughter and appreciation that is Robin Williams and it is really a sad tragedy at this time. I remember seeing Mrs. Doubtfire in the big screen, I once have a few action figures based on Hook and I even recently just remembered that he was in The Earth Day Special. He is indeed one of a kind in this day and age and there is no other like him. And as much as I’ve seen movies involving him, there’s a bunch that’s my favorite and Death To Smoochy is indeed one of them.

Now for a bit of backstory on this. Released back in 2002, it was the fourth feature helmed by Danny DeVito and unlike the previous three, it got a mixed reviews including a massive negative one from Roger Ebert which led to it being flopped at the box office. Since then, Jon Stewart joked about it on The Daily Show and DeVito has been waiting for the “mourning period” for the movie to be over in time to defend it during the DVD commentary. It even gave Robin his third Razzies nomination for worst actor. But alas, the movie went from being a disaster to a cult favorite.

Robin plays Rainbow Randolph who was once an children’s television host but after getting caught by the FBI and media, his career sank faster than it rendered him hated and homeless. As Nora Wells (Catherine Keener) try to find a suitable and positive replacement, she found one in Sheldon Mopes (Edward Norton) and it gave rise to Smoochy the Rhino. However, Rainbow Randolph is unpleasant about this and sets out for revenge going from secretly placing a penis cookie within the show taping to placing Sheldon in a neo-nazi rally. He succeeds with the last part but only for short time when he accidentally said something to Nora that makes Sheldon redeem himself and get the show back.

As Randolph’s revenge takes a slippery turn, Sheldon’s agent Burke (Danny DeVito) and mob boss Merv (Harvey Fierstein) wants Sheldon’s reign as host to end terribly so they plan to off Sheldon. The only issue is that they accidentally killed Sheldon’s friend Spinner (Michael Rispoli). With that, Merv himself got beheaded with the help from another mob boss Tommy (Pam Ferris) who knows Spinner personally. So as Sheldon’s ice show is near, Randolph decides to off Sheldon himself with Nora involved but long story short, it never happened and Randolph turns from revenge-obsessed to a depressed, washed-up celebrity who misses his old days and is beginning to learn his mistakes. Sheldon and Nora then let Randolph stay in their apartment.

But the plan to kill Sheldon continues as his death is set to occur in the ice show so Randolph decides to play hero, Sheldon goes after his agent and the show’s associate Marion (Jon Stewart) and Tommy stopped Sheldon and let her goons take care of the business. The movie ends with Smoochy and Rainbow Randolph got a new show (with Nora Wells as its co-host as seen in the credits). I generally like this movie and don’t get the hate when it was released back then. True that it grew into cult following when it comes to VHS and DVD and that it’s now getting the appreciation it deserves but why is it mixed at that time is forever a puzzle.

Robin is truly Rainbow fucking Randolph (which he said a couple of times during the movie right down to the added curse) and he played it both straight and comical throughout the movie. Edward also gives a stellar performance as a clean children’s show host who’s caught up in a world full of corrupted former children’s show hosts and mob business, Danny did try as well as a cartoonish, evil antagonist pretending to be good and Catherine as well for being a boss with an affection to children’s show hosts (right down to her proclaiming that she used to be a groupie to them).

This movie is indeed worth checking out. And Robin Williams, you were a comedy genius and even though I said that we lost our childhood earlier, it might get rediscovered in our hearts when it comes to watching movies that you starred in so everybody misses you now at this time so rest in peace sir.

RIP Robin Williams


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