Death To Smoochy

"Bad"

Death To Smoochy Review


Classic children's television show hosts like Mister Rogers and Barney make great role models for children, but their trite style makes them easy targets for adult jokes. Danny Devito's latest project, Death to Smoochy, is well-intended with its mockery of children's television and those inane hosts, however it is completely misdirected in its efforts to be funny.

After the obnoxious but popular host Rainbow Randolph (Robin Williams) is caught taking bribes from parents who want their kids on television, network head Frank Stokes (Jon Stewart) pulls the plug on his show. An exhaustive search through the downtrodden Barney wannabes to replace Randolph yields a pink, squeaky-clean rhino named Smoochy (Edward Norton), who becomes an overnight success with the kids despite his preachings of bland politically correct messages to children. Despite Smoochy's best wishes, his boss Nora (Catherine Keener) wants to cash in on the show's newfound success by selling Smoochy-sponsored cereals, cola, and string cheese. Randolph, on the other hand, is hell-bent on making life miserable for the rhino, and Smoochy's crooked agent (Danny DeVito) is busy making backdoor deals trying to sell Smoochy out to the mob.

Death to Smoochy is too convoluted and tedious to retain the interest of its audience or garner their laughs. DeVito relies solely on violence and insults between his characters to gain our laughter. As Randolph, Williams is loud and loathsome as he shouts obscenities and makes penis and potty insults. It is the same comedic shtick we've seen from him in countless other films, but this time it has reached a far cruder terminus. Norton plays a charming Barney-esque Smoochy but his amiable character quickly annoys the audience with his banter for all things pure and wholesome. Real kids watching his show would just change the channel.

Children's television is not about violence, obscenities, or the mob. Death to Smoochy should have instead been geared toward the empty lives of those men who masquerade behind alter egos like Wally the Whale, Rainbow Randolph, and Smoochy the Rhino. But it's the silly things they do on their shows that make them targets for our humor. We couldn't care less about what happens when the cameras are off.

I never thought I would actually find myself cheering for one of these lowly characters but as Death to Smoochy wore on, I wanted the gun-toting whale to somehow put an end to the misery of this movie. Now that's sad!

Danny DeVito pulls out all the stops for Smoochy's DVD release, with nary an apology in sight, even on the commentary track. Outtakes and deleted scenes are uniformly dull, the sole exception being an excised Japanese kiddie show host who takes over after Smoochy is briefly deposed. Hell, I'd rather see an entire movie about that guy than the one they made about these clowns.

At right, children for auction.



Death To Smoochy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th March 2002

Box Office USA: $8.3M

Budget: $55M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 69

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Rainbow Randolph, as Nora Wells, as Burke Bennett, as Marion Frank Stokes, as Tommy Cotter, as Sheldon Mopes / Smoochy, as Angelo Pike, as Spinner Dunn, as Merv Green, as Buggy Ding Dong

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.