Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ten Statements About....SCREWED (2000)

You all should seek out the scriptwriters and get revenge...
“Sweet Jesus! We kidnapped a turd!"

1) Norm MacDonald is way out of his depth here.  Shorn of all the schtick that made him a presence on Saturday Night Live, he’s a monotone deer in the headlights, unable to muster anything that engages the audience.  His Willard is just painful to watch.

2) But to be fair, no one--not MacDonald, not Dave Chappelle, not Elaine Stritch or Sarah Silverman, is helped by this tin-eared script that gives them all nothing to work with.  This is the type of script that doesn’t give the actors characters; it doesn’t even give them types.  There is literally nothing to any of these personages.  They just float in space with no background, no emotional life and no nuance whatsoever.

3) After seeing Silverman struggle with the role of Hillary--not because she’s not a good actress, which she is, but because it’s a whisp of a character (we don’t even get a hint of what she is in relation to Willard until halfway through the film, and even that is hastily sketched out)--I perfectly understand why she refuses to take girlfriend roles any more.

4) The gruesomeness of some of the gags detract from what little humor is inherent in them.  Having not...FUNNY!!!!
MacDonald’s hand chewed up by a tiny dog so badly that he’s spraying blood on the walls is winge-worthy.  And the whole ‘you’d be surprised what you can find in a dead body’ sequence is not only too gross to laugh at, but goes on far too long.

5) What did they give Danny Devito to disgrace himself as Grover?  This detestable ‘character’ is only there to come up with gross out joke after gross out joke revolving around cadavers.  There is nothing funny about him sorting through corpses to find one that resembles MacDonald or allowing another to fall down the stairs or using a big hose to suck....something...out of another.  It’s just painful to watch.

6) You know, don’t try to ground a film in an actual location if you’re not going to show any of said location.  This film could take place in Bohunkville instead of Pittsburgh, and it’d be unchanged.

I'd book a flight out of this movie too....
7) I thought it was a given that you don’t ever introduce a major character--a co-conspirator in one of the kidnapping plots, for example--well into the third act.  Well, I guess I know better now.

8) The problem with Elaine Stritch’s Mrs Crock’s face turn is that it’s not earned.  She’s portrayed as such a one note horror that we never see the seeds that prompt her to change her spots in the last few minutes of the film.  It’s as if the filmmakers did it because they felt it had to be done.

9) What is Sherman Helmsley’s Chip even here for?  I know he’s Mrs. Crock’s boytoy, but why does he take over operations of her bakery the second she’s missing?

10) I dunno...I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to own a rocket why is Grover still free at the end of this film.

Overall...I think the filmmakers were trying to create a funny black comedy.  And considering I spent the running time wincing instead of laughing, I’d have to say they failed.

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