Death to Smoochy (VHS, 2002) Reviews
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Death to Smoochy (VHS, 2002)

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What is a Smoochy? Watch Death to Smoochy to Find Out

Apr 9, 2002
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Robin Williams and Edward Norton. Unique plot.

Cons:It is a dark comedy, so some people may not give it a chance

The Bottom Line: Death to Smoochy is a great dark comedy that deserves a chance. It isn't for everyone though


I like to go to movies and rent them. I enjoy many different kinds of movies, from classics to some that are just stupid. I like some movies that are unique and different. I recently saw a movie that fits both of those descriptions, Death to Smoochy. The movie is very different and unique. I really liked it, but this isn't a movie for everyone. When I first saw the previews for Death to Smoochy, I wasn't sure what was going on. Then I saw some more previews and I had a better idea of what was going on in the movie. It looked interesting to me. That plus Robin Williams and Edward Norton being in it was enough for me.

CAST

Robin Williams - Rainbow Randolph/Randy
Edward Norton - Smoochy the rhino/Sheldon Mopes
Jon Stewart - Frank Stokes
Catherine Keener - Nora Wells
Danny DeVito - Burke
Harvey Fierstein - Merve Green
Pam Ferris - Tommy Cotter
Michael Rispoli - Spinner Dunn
Danny Woodburn - Angelo Pike

Danny DeVito - Director
Adam Resnick - Screenwriter

Death to Smoochy is 101 minutes long and it is rated R. There is some violence, some brief sexual situations, and coarse, graphic language throughout the movie. No children of any age should see this movie.

PLOT

When the movie begins, there is a song playing about Smoochy and his jungle. The song does sound like one that would be on a kid's show, annoying parents. A few scenes are shown in silhouettes. Then the movie goes back six months to show what lead to the events being shown in the silhouettes.

Rainbow Randolph is a very popular child's television show. Randolph sings and dances wearing white sequin shoes and a rainbow colored sequin jacket. The Krinkle Kids are the other characters on the show. Children from the audience get to sing and dance with Randolph and the Krinkle Kids. Randolph also picks some kids to sit with him in his rainbow chair.

One night, Randy meets with a couple in a bar. The couple have a son. They want their son to be picked to dance in front and to sit in the rainbow chair on the show. They offer Randy a briefcase full of money. The money is in small bills, so it isn't a huge amount. They chat for a few minutes and then Randy starts to leave the bar with the briefcase. The couple were really undercover cops and the bar was full of other cops and FBI agents. Randy is arrested. The Rainbow Randolph show is canceled and KIDNET, the television station that aired Randy's show, is looking for a new show. The men in charge of KIDNET want to find someone who has morals and principals and who won't end up in a huge mess like Randy did.

Frank Stokes and Nora Wells work for KIDNET. They are trying to find someone to host a new kid's show. Stokes decides that Sheldon Mopes, the creator of Smoochy the rhino, would be perfect for a new show. Sheldon is so clean he squeaks. He is a vegetarian. He wants to use Smoochy to teach kids things like manners, ethics, and morals. Nora doesn't agree. She thinks Sheldon is a bit pathetic and that they can do much better. Stokes wants Smoochy, so Nora has to track him down. She finds him doing a show at a methadone clinic. He is wearing a homemade Smoochy outfit, consisting of pinkish purple sweats, shoes, and a very crude looking Smoochy head. Sheldon does look a bit goofy in that outfit. Nora talks to him after his show is over. Sheldon was thrilled to be getting his own show.

People at KIDNET work with Sheldon to design a set for the show and to make a new Smoochy suit. The finished product looks much better than Sheldon's effort. Smoochy ends up being just a little lighter in color than Barney the dinosaur. Smoochy has a little more pink in his coloring than Barney has, but the suit made by the KIDNET people has more purple in it than the outfit Sheldon made himself. I have a pair of slippers that are about the same shade as Smoochy. Anyway, back to the movie. Smoochy's new show gets the time slot that use to belong to the Rainbow Randolph show. Smoochy's show is a huge hit. Smoochy is everywhere and children love him.

Randy has fallen on some bad times since his show was canceled. He lost his apartment and has no more money. Bills are piling up. When he sees that Smoochy got his old time slot and is so popular, Randy loses it. He blames Smoochy for his problems. Randy wants revenge and he comes up with plans to bring Smoochy down. Some of the plans involve some unique cookies and tricking into performing at an event he shouldn't be at.

Nora is involved in making decisions for the Smoochy show. She and Sheldon disagree on things related to the show. Sheldon wants more creative control over the show, and he doesn't want Smoochy's image selling a bunch of things like soft drinks that are bad for kids. Sheldon eventually gets an agent, Burke, who gets Sheldon creative control of the show and the ability to veto any product endorsement he doesn't approve of. Sheldon will also produce the show. The network gives Sheldon an apartment. After this, Burke wants Sheldon to do some things that Sheldon doesn't think are right. There are other people, like Merve Green, who want to use Smoochy for their own purposes. Merve is in charge of a corrupt child's charity. Sheldon doesn't want to cooperate with the other plans, which makes some people very upset with him. More people come up with plans to get rid of Smoochy. Many more things happen throughout the movie. If you want to find out how everything works out, see the movie.

**End of plot discussion**

Death to Smoochy is a dark comedy. This isn't a feel good movie. Parts of the movie are very dark and a bit disturbing. Death to Smoochy is not a movie for everyone. I really enjoyed it, but I do like some different movies. Some things in the movie were very funny, but not everyone will see the humor in what happens. Randy went off a few times, saying things that sounded like they were from Robin Williams' stand up act. He says some very off color things at times, but they were funny. It really cracked me up when Randy called Smoochy the face of evil and a Muppett from h-e-double hockey sticks among other things. I think a unique sense of humor is needed to really enjoy this movie.

There is some violence in a few different scenes and there is a lot of swearing throughout the movie. The word that rhymes with luck, and several variations of the word, are used by many characters in the movie. I think Sheldon is the only character in the movie that doesn't say any of those words. He does swear a time or two near the end of the movie, when he is extremely stressed, but he never used the word that rhymes with luck. At one point in the movie, Nora makes an obscene hand gesture. Randy uses a lot of very colorful language throughout the movie. After the cookie mishap, Randy uses a lot of colorful phrases to describe what the cookie in question is really supposed to be. That little speech by Randy really reminded me of some things from a stand up act of Robin's that I saw once on video. If you've ever seen Robin Williams do stand up and you liked it, then you might like this movie. But, if you have seen his stand up act and hated it, then this movie is not the movie for you. Randy can be coarse and vulgar at times. If that sort of thing offends you, Death to Smoochy isn't a movie you will enjoy.

I thought the plot of Death to Smoochy was very original. There are two children's show hosts who are very different. One, Randy, messes up big time and loses his show. The other, Sheldon, gets his big break and is very popular. Randy goes off the deep end and starts plotting ways to get rid of his replacement, Smoochy, and get his show back. I've never seen a movie like this before. Randy expresses a hatred for Smoochy that some people may have felt for other children's shows hosts, like Barney, for whatever reason. The difference here is that Randy is somewhat justified in his hatred of Smoochy since Smoochy's show got his time slot and is such a huge hit. Yes, it was Randy's own fault that he lost his show originally, but it understandable that he would not be happy to see the show that replaced him becomes such a hit. Though Randy did go a bit overboard when he started plotting ways to bring Smoochy down. Death to Smoochy also exposes the dark under belly to children's television. Who knew there was a dark under belly to children's television? Many of the characters that Sheldon encounters in relation to the Smoochy show are corrupt in some way. Corruption is running rampant in this movie. At one point Randy even admits that he let himself be corrupted after his show was a hit.

I thought the acting in the movie was quite good. Robin Williams was at his manic best playing Randy. He also had some more serious scenes too. He was believable as a man losing his grip on sanity. Some of the expressions on his face were so expressive. Edward Norton was wonderful as Sheldon/Smoochy. This role is completely different from any others Norton has played and he was perfect in it. He is taking some roles that really show his range as an actor. I really like him. Anyway, Sheldon is a naive man, but he isn't stupid. He is a kind, caring person. He just sees the good in things and people and finds it hard to believe how bad some people can be. There were times when Sheldon didn't really know what was going on, or he was extremely shocked by things that happened. In those scenes, Norton had expressions that perfectly conveyed Sheldon's shock, bewilderment, or the fact that he was clueless. Jon Stewart wasn't in many scenes, but he was fine. The main thing I remember about him is that he had a bad haircut. Catherine Keener was pretty good in her role as Nora, going from being a nasty woman to someone who was actually nice and cared about people. Danny DeVito only had a few scenes, but he was good in them.

The character development isn't the best, but it is sufficient for most of the main characters. With Randy, we see how he falls apart after he screws up and loses his show. However, we never find out why he started the show or why it was so important to him. Very little of his past is known, but it does come out later in the movie that he had been involved with Nora sometime in the past. I think that Sheldon is more developed. We know why he created Smoochy. He talks about the character that inspired him to create Smoochy, a singing, dancing hippo. Nora changes a lot over the course of the movie. She starts out as a somewhat angry woman who seems to hate Sheldon. By the end of the movie, she has changed into a much kinder woman who cares for Sheldon. Very little is known learned about Nora's past.

CHARACTERS

Randy - He plays Rainbow Randolph on a child's show that has the same name. He messes up big time and is fired. He seems to be losing his grip on his sanity after the show that replaced his, staring Smoochy the rhino, is a big hit. Randy goes through a range of emotions. He has bouts of anger and depression. He comes up with several plans to cause Smoochy to be fired.

Sheldon Snopes - He creates the character of Smoochy the rhino. Sheldon is a very kind man. He sees the good in others. He wants no part of the corruption that is surrounding him. He is a vegetarian and wants to use Smoochy to teach children many things, including morals and manners.

Nora Wells - She works for KIDNET and tracks Sheldon down to get to be on a show. She is rather nasty at times, and seems to hate Sheldon. She has negative things to say about him when it is first suggested Sheldon get a show, but when she goes to offer him the show, it seems she has never met him before. She has her own ideas about how things should be done on the show, which often clashes with what Sheldon wants. She does come to like Sheldon, and become a bit nicer over all.

Burke - He is Sheldon's agent, but he has his own interests at heart.

Stokes - He also works at KIDNET. It is his idea to get Sheldon to do a show with Smoochy. He was friends with Randy before that mess, but he won't do anything to help Randy in any way. Stokes may also have his own interests at heart.

Death to Smoochy is a wonderful dark comedy, but some people won't like it. It is very unique, but it will be too dark for some people. Fans of dark comedies, unusual movies, and the stand up of Robin Williams should give this movie a chance.

Thanks for reading. =)


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