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Pumpkin (2002)
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Review Date: November 03, 2002
Director: Anthony Abrams, Adam Larson Broder
Writer: Adam Larson Broder
Producers: Christina Ricci, Andrea Sperling, Ron Yerxa
Actors:
Christina Ricci as Carolyn McDuffy
Hank Harris as Pumpkin
Marisa Coughlan as Julie Thurber
Plot:
A privileged sorority girl is given the task of overseeing a mentally challenged boy during the girls' drive for new recruits. She's hesitant at first, as the thought of interacting with the boy disturbs her, but it isn't long before she grows attached to the young man and ultimately...takes a liking to him. But how will everyone else react to her fondness for the "special" chap? A mess ensues.
Critique:
I always hate to put down a movie with seemingly good intentions, but with a film as badly constructed as this one, I almost feel like it's my duty to inform others. PUMPKIN is easily one of the most uneven motion pictures that I've had the displeasure of sitting through over the past few years. You don't know how many times I wanted to stop watching this movie during its beyond ridiculously overlong 2-hour runtime! I actually got down and prayed that my dvd player would break down at about the halfway point, but t'was not to be. So I sat through the entire movie, which seemed to have absolutely no idea what exactly it wanted to be, and just kept asking myself one question after another. Is this scene supposed to be humorous? Are those tears real? Is she serious when she says that? Are they being honest or ironic here? A million other questions ran through my mind as I tried to figure out whether or not this film was going for laughs, tears, drama, comedy or anything else which might turn it into a cohesive whole. In the end, it actually didn't even matter because the story itself sucked, the characters were about as one-dimensional as the posters hanging from my walls, the romance was unbelievable, the laughs were absent and the whole point of any of it was destroyed with enough plot inconsistencies to make straight-to-video titles seem "tight". Now maybe I missed the entire point of this movie. Maybe it was all supposed to be a dream or some kind of metaphor on life or something to do with the American college "Greek system", but all I know is that it was a damn chore to sit through, it was not entertaining in the least and if anything...it angered me!

It angered me because I was never given any background on any of the characters, most especially the two leads, one of whom was presented as a hollow human being with zero real emotions, and the other who is obviously mentally-challenged, but about whom we really know nothing else. Since when had he been like that? Are his "improvements" impressive or par for the course for someone like him? Are his feelings real or just an infatuation? We are given no real background on Pumpkin himself, barely shown any scenes between the two leads, and yet we're supposed to believe that they both somehow "fell in love" with each other? At some point, Pumpkin turns to Ricci's character and tells her that she's the "smartest girl he's even met"--- but the guy had barely spoken to her up to that point! All we ever see between their characters is a montage of them practicing for the Olympics, and suddenly...they both have this "deep connection" to one another? I didn't see it, I didn't buy it, I didn't recognize it, I didn't feel it in the dialogue and I didn't witness any chemistry whatsoever between them. In fact, pretty much every single character seemed to change their mind about ten different times in this movie to the point that I just didn't give a shit about what anyone said anymore. And was there any reason why the two mothers in the picture were both uncaring and alcoholic? Or was that some of the so-called "comedy" that I missed? And since when can anyone other than Superman survive a flying leap off a cliff in a car that explodes in mid-air and lands dead into the ground? The man in the car comes out alive and without a burn. What the --?!? Or was all that just an obvious plot device used to showcase the irony in that character's fate? Ugh. If so, it was about as subtle as a kick to the nuts.

Ultimately, things get even more ridiculous during an embarrassingly laughable fight (not "haha" laughable), and as if that wasn't bad enough, the score turns out to be a weakass rip-off of the much greater, and much more effective, anthem from REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. What was good in the movie? Ricci looked cute (and her monster cans were alive and well), there was this one "rebel" teacher who was hilarious, the guy who played Kent was good (although much like every other character in the movie, he changed his opinion more times than I change mine about quitting this job) and one specific scene featuring a double-date gone wrong was somewhat amusing. Other than that, this flick is just plain inconsistent and even lengthens its load (for no good reason-Ricci's character just decides to dump her dude and go "find herself" all of a sudden), to a crescendo scene in which Ricci offers some poignant words to her ex-boyfriend, while her nipples are bulging out of her sweater for all to see. C'mon...am I on "Candid Camera" here? Yuck, yuck, yuck...stay far away! BTW, the dude who wrote this film only has one other movie credit on his resume and that is the "story" credit to DEAD MAN ON CAMPUS. No joke.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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