Old 12-17-2008, 04:20 AM
My Name is Bruce

My Name is Bruce (2007)

Before this movie came out, I heard it being tagged as a sort of Bruce Campbell fan's dream movie. I enjoy most of Bruce Campbell's work, especially the Evil Dead trilogy, so I was very much looking forward to see this. Then I finally saw it this evening and was completely let down by what could have been a really good spoof.

The story is set in the town of Gold Lick where a teenager accidentally unleashes the evil Chinese god Guan-Di, god of war and bean paste (?!). This same teenager who unleashed the menace, and just happens to be a huge fan of Bruce Campbell, decides to call upon the actor to vanquish the evil Guan-Di to, hopefully, save the town and its citizens. Upon arrival, Bruce thinks that this is an elaborate gig set up by his agent, but he soon finds out that it's very real.

As I said, I love most of Bruce Campbell's stuff. I've probably seen the Evil Dead trilogy at least half-a-dozen times and his cameos in the Spider Man flicks are priceless, but here, it just seems like he's not trying very hard. That could be because he is simply playing himself, but I doubt very much that the actual Bruce Campbell is a drunkard living in a trailer somewhere.

Campbell also directs the movie from a script that sounded like it could have been written by a 6-year-old, in this case, Mark Verheiden. The directing was fine, but the script just didn't give any of the characters a single intelligent thing to say. I get the feeling that was done on purpose, but it gets quite annoying after awhile. If they were going for a straight spoof of Campbell's work, then they should have just done a straight spoof of one of his films. I would have been much more interested if the plot revolved about what the real Campbell would have done when surrounded by demons in a cabin in the woods.

It's good to see that Campbell can take a joke at his expense, but that joke didn't have to escalate into an entire motion picture. With this film, it just feels like a vanity project, where he saw a script that was about him and decided to make it to remind people that he is still out there. We know he's still out there. I have seen him a few times on the show "Burn Notice." It's not a show I watch regularly, but I've watched a bit when I saw him on it.

I'm really disappointed about how it was said that fans will love this movie. Does this mean I'm not a fan of Bruce Campbell? No, it just means that I like better movies than this. I am hoping that Campbell does find better material though, because, even though the guy is not a great actor, he can be incredibly entertaining when he's in his correct genre.

Aside from Campbell, it just didn't seem like anybody was trying too hard to act in this flick. The whole project just didn't know what it wanted to be. If they wanted to make it a spoof, it needed comedy. If it wanted to be a horror movie, it needed lots more thrills. Unfortunately, it got lost somewhere in between and didn't provide enough of either.

It's funny that it was trying to do a blend of comedy and horror, because that's what made the Evil Dead series so memorable, especially part II: Dead By Dawn. I can't recall any other movie that can have you cringing one second and then laughing the next. Some people may be turned off by the large amounts of gore in this series, but at least it knows what it wants to be and pulls it off successfully.

Perhaps really die-hard fans will be able to appreciate this movie more than others. At the time of this review, it has a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes (seems about right), while on IMDB, it's got a score of 7.6 with fans proclaiming their love. I have a feeling this will find its way into cult status, even if it is a very small cult, but for the rest of us, we'll just have to keep playing those DVDs of Evil Dead to be reminded of the glory days of Bruce Campbell. 2/4 stars.
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