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Death to Smoothy
DVD disk
Oct 8, 2004 By: Scott Weinberg
Death to Smoothy order
Director:
Danny DeVito

Actors:
Robin Williams
Edward Norton
Catherine Keener

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A dark, creepy and intermittently hilarious satire of the kids TV show business. When a longtime kids show host is canceled and starts going violently insane, his wrath is immediately directed at the painfully innocent replacement character: yep, Smoochy.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
It may be a valid complaint to mention that a satire of "Barney"-type TV shows would have perhaps been more timely a few years ago. To that, one could simply reply better late than never. Although DeVito and screenwriter Adam Resnick occasionally bite off a little more than they can chew, DEATH TO SMOOCHY is one of those rare comedies where "going too far" proves to be infinitely more entertaining than the alternative. It's clear that the dark humor and over-the-top performance by Robin Williams may be off-putting to some moviegoers, but I found both to be a breath of fresh air in the generally stagnant realm of "Studio Comedies".

Not every gag hits the mark, but the ones that deliver do so with a satisfying bang. William's maniacally profane presence was especially refreshing, as I could feel each of his previous cornpone performances wash away under a torrent of F-bombs and spittle showers. Although this is a flick that wears its flaws right out there for all to see, the skilled comic teamwork of Norton, Keener and Williams manage to right the ship on more than one occasion. Not merely for the insane and frothing presence of Robin Williams, DEATH TO SMOOCHY is a bizarre, colorful, wholly entertaining, and undeniably sick little comedy. Those with a taste for their comedy a little on the questionable side will be entertained; devoted cynics will have a ball.
THE EXTRAS
Theres a whole lotta Smoochy goodness on this DVD, especially considering the resounding THUD this comedy made at the box office. First up is a full-length audio commentary with director Danny DeVito and cinematographer Anastas Michos. (Hats off to the DP; this is one amazingly colorful movie!) Both contributors offer fans lots of info Michos technical, DeVito anecdotal but the track drags noticeably in spots. DeVitos always worth a listen, but you most likely wont return for a second visit. Theres a collection of ten deleted scenes, most of which are kinda "blah" (which explains why they were snipped), but its always nice to see some cut footage included as an extra. The deleted scenes are preceded by text screens explaining why they were excised.

Another highlight is the eight-minute behind the scenes featurette, which is a pastiche of interviews, makeup and set design stuff, outtakes, and lots of outright silliness. No puff-piece EPK here; this ones a must for fans of old-school style Robin Williams. (Looks like this was a fun flick to work on!) Bloopers and Outtakes is another piece of backstage wackiness; a truly funny little gag reel that should delight anyone who likes the flick (or ANY of the actors involved). A rather odd extra is the Interactive Ice Show, which allows viewers to re-edit the climactic Ice Show sequence by use of chapter shuffling and multiple angles. Not bad, but not terribly exciting either.

Under the catch-all title The Magic Cookie Bag, youll find a whole lot of stocking-stuffer type goodies. Covering a wide array of topics like Production Stills, Art Materials, Costume Design, Behind-the-Scenes Stills, Production Design, the Cookie Bag makes for a cool little snack. This surprisingly weighty DVD release is rounded out with some cast/crew bios and a trio of Smoochy theatrical trailers.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I have friends who are also film critics; they hate this movie. But I think its really funny in a warped kinda way. Theres no arguing that the DVD extras are pretty damn impressive, so I recommend you give it a rent (when youre in a weird mood) and decide for yourself.
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