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"DEATH TO SMOOCHY"
(2002) (Edward Norton, Robin Williams) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Minor *Extreme *Mild Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Heavy None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Mild None Mild *Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Black comedy: After losing his fame and fortune for being caught accepting bribes, a former kids show host plots to get his revenge on the clean cut man and costumed character chosen as his replacement.
PLOT:
"Rainbow Randolph" Smiley (ROBIN WILLIAMS) once had it all - fame, fortune and a highly successful and lucrative children's TV show that he hosted. Yet, when he's busted for accepting bribes to put children on the program, both he and the show are quickly canned. It's then up to Kidnet network president Frank Stokes (JON STEWART) and vice-president of development Nora Wells (CATHERINE KEENER) to find a squeaky clean replacement as soon as possible. They do so in Sheldon Mopes (EDWARD NORTON), a bottom-rung performer who plays hospitals and drug rehab clinics as Smoochy, a colorfully costumed rhino who entertains the patients with his folksy songs.

The new show is soon a big hit, with regulars such as Angelo (DANNY WOODBURN) moving over from Randolph's cancelled program. As idealistic as they come, Sheldon believes he can do good with his show, but it's not long before he gets an unsavory, behind the scenes look at this world.

Nora and Frank want to market the character and show as widely as possible, which thus allows Burke Bennett (DANNY DEVITO) to sweep in and persuade Sheldon to allow him to represent him in such matters. Little does he know that the agent is in cahoots with Merv Green (HARVEY FIERSTEIN) of the Parade of Hope charity and that both plan to skim some money off the top of all things Smoochy related.

Then there's Mafioso Tommy Kotter (PAM FERRIS) who "persuades" Sheldon to put her dimwitted cousin and ex-boxer, Spinner Dunn (MICHAEL RISPOLI), on the show. Sheldon's biggest problem, of which he's initially unaware, however, is that Randolph, who's now destitute, has decided to do anything and everything in his power to ruin Sheldon and Smoochy and thus hopefully get his old show back. All of that, and a former host turned heroin addict and assassin, Buggy (VINCENT SCHIAVELLI), make for an interesting and dangerous time in Sheldon's turn on the show.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Fans of anyone in the cast, director Danny DeVito's previous works or dark comedies in general just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and sexual references.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ROBIN WILLIAMS plays a former children's show host (busted for accepting bribes to put kids on his show) who vindictively sets out to ruin his replacement's life and career. He uses strong profanity and goes to various extremes in trying to achieve his goal.
  • EDWARD NORTON plays the new host chosen as his replacement. An idealistic man with high standards, he must deal with the various setbacks, obstacles and difficulties that come his way once he becomes a star.
  • CATHERINE KEENER plays the cold and standoffish executive at Kidnet who hires but initially doesn't like or respect Sheldon. She warms up to him as she gets to know him, however, and is seen beginning to fool around with him in one scene. She uses strong profanity, and is drunk in one scene.
  • DANNY DEVITO plays a talent agent in cahoots with various forces to make a profit from Sheldon and becomes upset when the host won't go along with his plans. He drinks and uses strong profanity.
  • JON STEWART plays Nora's boss who's also in cahoots with Burke.
  • HARVEY FIERSTEIN plays a corrupt charity official who's in cahoots with the two of them to make money off Smoochy.
  • PAM FERRIS plays the Mafioso who pressures Sheldon to put her cousin on his show, but later is his staunchest ally. She often has her men take care of various problems and people in standard mafia fashion (intimidating, beating or killing people).
  • MICHAEL RISPOLI plays her dimwitted lug of a cousin, a former boxer who's excited to be on the Smoochy show.
  • VINCENT SCHIAVELLI plays a former show host and current junkie who's hired to kill Smoochy.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated, black comedy. Profanity is listed as extreme due to the use of at least 35 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Various instances of sexually related dialogue are present, a couple is briefly seen fooling around and getting undressed (mostly in silhouette), and a cookie is shaped like a flattened penis and testicles.

    Violence, while played in a dark comedy fashion, includes several deaths (one by gunshot, another by falling and an implied off-screen one), attempted deadly acts, and others being roughed up, hit or injured. Various people have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while they and others drink, some smoke and some drug-related material (but no use) is present.

    Meanwhile, some forms of imitative behavior are also present. Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listing for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Randolph has a drink.
  • Miscellaneous people drink.
  • As various performers' names are rattled off as replacements for Randolph, one is noted as being on heroin.
  • Frank has a drink.
  • Sheldon performs for some addicts at a drug clinic where he sings a song with lyrics, "We'll get you off that smack, yes we will" and "Cuz the smack can lead to crack, oh yes it can."
  • Randolph drinks from a flask.
  • While drinking orange juice in a bar, Sheldon tells the bartender that if one really wants to fly (as in be high) they should add some liquid alfalfa (which he does, but he doesn't act any differently afterwards).
  • Burke has a drink.
  • Frank pours a drink for himself.
  • Burke has a drink.
  • Spinner tells Sheldon that he's going to go and get drunk now.
  • Nora shows up at Sheldon's place and announces that she's drunk.
  • While posing as someone else in disguise, Randolph mentions something about vodka to Sheldon (but we never see it).
  • Randolph asks Nora, "Whose toes do you have to suck to get a drink around here?"
  • Burke has a drink.
  • Tommy says that they should go pray and get "sh*t-faced" (drunk).
  • We hear that Buggy is a heroin addict and he orders a drink in a club.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Randolph has a black eye/bruise on his face.
  • We see a black and white photo of a murder victim and what looks like some blood on his face.
  • A man has a little bit of blood on his face.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Most everything listed here is played in a black comedy fashion and thus not completely (or at all) realistically.
  • Randolph has a bad attitude toward nearly everyone (particularly when he becomes vindictive and/or psychotic) and accepts bribes from parents to put their kids on his show. Once busted and demoted, he then sets out to undermine and/or ruin Sheldon's career.
  • As various performers' names are rattled off as replacements for Randolph, one is noted as being a wife beater.
  • Nora initially has a cold and condescending demeanor toward others, especially Sheldon.
  • Despite being his agent, Burke conspires with Merv to take advantage of Sheldon for a profit, and we later learn that Frank is in on that as well. Merv also puts pressure on and threatens Sheldon to put on an ice show or face the consequences.
  • Tommy puts pressure on Sheldon to include Spinner in his show (although she later supports and defends him for that favor) and she and her goons occasionally take matters into their own hands to deal with problematic people (even killing someone).
  • Various people conspire to have Smoochy/Sheldon assassinated.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" could also be somewhat suspenseful to some viewers, but most are played for laughs and/or black comedy.
  • Hoping to get some sympathy from anyone, Randolph pours gasoline over himself and then lights a match, prepared to set himself on fire (although most will see it played for laughs with no real suspense).
  • An assassin prepares to shoot Smoochy/Sheldon with a rifle during a show and others race to stop him (all played in a black comedy style).
  • An assassin gets a few shots off at a costumed character, hitting the top of its head, but the wearer is okay (despite falling to the ground and initially appearing hurt). Randolph and the assassin then struggle over the rifle, with both eventually dangling from a catwalk. The assassin then falls to his death by landing on the ice several stories below (we don't see the impact).
  • Sheldon slowly searches, gun drawn, for a man who's hiding from him. That man then comes out, hits Sheldon on the head and then kicks him several times. He then pulls out a gun, but another person shows up and holds a gun to him. Sheldon then punches the bad guy in the face and holds a gun to his head and nearly shoots him, but stops.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Shotguns/Rifle: Carried/worn or used to threaten or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • We see a man raising an ax to take to a corrupt man. While we don't see the impact, we hear that the victim was decapitated.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Squeaky f*cking clean," "F*cking peasant," "You f*cking traitor," "I've got the whole world up my f*cking ass," "F*cking jizz-bag," "Get the f*ck out of here" (followed by another person saying, "Do you eat with that mouth?"), "What the f*ck am I watching here?" "You just f*cked with the wrong rhino," "Who gives a sh*t?" "You dumb sh*t," "Piece of sh*t," "Sh*t-faced," "No sh*t," "Sh*thead," "D*ck measuring contest," "Tw*t d'jour," "You're in deep sh*t," "Booger eater," "Bust my balls," "Let's concentrate on saving my ass," "Take a piss," "Ass wipe," "Jerk off," "Scumbag," "Screw" (nonsexual), "Sit there with his thumb up his ass," "Balls" and "Nuts" (testicles), "Pissing," "I'll be right back after I take a dump," "Don't piss your life away," "What the hell kind of world are we living in?" "Nipple nibbler" (what Randolph calls an infant), "Bastards," "Bitch," "Bite me, Buddha," "Cork it, asshole," "Shut up," "Go blow yourself, Martha," "Jacked up higher than a prom dress in June" and "My ass."
  • It's possible some kids could try to imitate Randolph's efforts to ruin Sheldon's career and reputation through various means.
  • Nora says, "Plant this," while giving someone "the finger."
  • Randolph says he's "going on safari" (to hunt Sheldon) and then makes an exaggerated elephant sound.
  • Sheldon shows the kids on his show that when he's frustrated, he lets out a loud howl and then gets them to do that as well (like coyotes).
  • Hoping to get some sympathy from anyone, Randolph pours gasoline over himself and then lights a match, prepared to set himself on fire (all played for laughs with no real suspense).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful music, much of it played in a black comedy fashion, occurs in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 35 "f" words (3 used with "mother"), 11 "s" words, 9 slang terms for/using male genitals ("c*ck," "c*cks*cker," "d*ck," "pr*ck," "Big Stiffy," "Wienie," "One-eyed wonder weasel"), 1 slang term using female genitals ("tw*t"), 1 slang term for breasts ("t*ts"), 22 asses (5 used with "hole"), 4 hells, 3 damns, 2 S.O.B.s, 3 uses of "Oh my God," 2 of "G-damn," and 1 use each of "God," "Oh God" and "Good Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Upset at Frank offering him a goodie bag filled with various things including hand lotion, Randolph tells Frank that he (Frank) knows what to do with the lotion.
  • Burke tells Sheldon that once he (Sheldon) has the power, he could walk out on stage with a "dildo" strapped to his head if he wanted.
  • Sheldon discovers that his regular, on-the-show cookies have been replaced by ones that have the appearance of a flattened penis and testicles. As he stares at it in shock during a live show, he thinks fast and then tells the kids that it's a rocket ship. Randolph (who made the substitution), then runs out and uses all sorts of slang terms for male genitals in describing what the cookie is.
  • After Sheldon tells Nora and Frank that pointing fingers does no good since someone always gets poked, he then tells them that he has no intention of "poking" either of them (something of a double entendre on the part of the film, but not the intention of his character).
  • Sheldon removes his shirt in his office and this draws the attraction of Nora (but nothing else happens).
  • When Randolph reminds Nora that they once dated, she says she was young and stupid. He then adds that she was also limber.
  • Nora and Sheldon passionately kiss and we then see the silhouette of them, with him on a bed and her standing and removing his costumed feet and pants before removing her own clothes. She then gets on top of him (all still in silhouette and so we don't see any nudity).
  • The camera briefly focuses on some women's clothed bodies as they dance.
  • Buggy lasciviously says to Nora, "Let me show you my buggy bumper" (or something like that, presumably referring to his genitals, but nothing happens).
  • When Randolph explains his relationship with Nora, he says that she was passionate but tender and old-fashioned but experimental. When she gets mad, he asks if the bridle still fits. She then replies that she's had firmer handshakes and he comes back saying, "It's small, but fierce" (references to his penis). Randolph then comments on the other costumed characters Nora dated and mentions that she dated Jingle Jackson and liked to play with his "bells" (while making a gesture for manipulating testicles). He then mentions Wally the Whale and adds, "Thar she blows" (double entendre). She then admits that she was a kiddie-host groupie.
  • Randolph complains about Sheldon's artwork and says that he used to have a painting of a nude woman holding a small plant and then adds, "No bush" (double entendre).
  • A person comments that another is "Jacked up higher than a prom dress in June."
  • A few female characters show some cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • Tommy smokes several times, Buggy smokes once and a few miscellaneous people smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The world of children's TV programming (and the politics and business behind it).
  • How pop/entertainment icons often quickly go in and out of public favor.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see quick, silhouetted images of some men hitting and beating a costumed character and then the real thing of one pulling a gun and shooting it (but we don't see the impact and don't know the fate of the victim at this point).
  • Federal agents hold their guns on Randolph when busting him.
  • Nora tries to hit Sheldon with a Frisbee she throws at him, but he ducks and it misses.
  • Some guards physically remove Randolph from the set and he then falls down a flight of stairs and smacks his head against a brick wall (spitting out a tooth before losing consciousness).
  • Randolph rushes in and pins Angelo to the floor and he then hits Randolph on the head with a wooden kitchen utensil.
  • Merv throws Sheldon from his limo out onto the sidewalk.
  • While joyously dancing down the sidewalk, Randolph accidentally smacks into a wall rather hard.
  • Nora pushes Randolph backwards and moments later punches him in the face.
  • Tommy's men rough up Randolph for setting up Sheldon. In doing so, they break down the door to enter, Tommy grabs him by the throat and then throws him against a piano, and one of the goons throws him against a brick wall and then does a wrestling-like move of slamming him to the floor. They then prepare to take a pick hammer to him, and we then hear the sounds of him being hit (but we don't know with what).
  • Randolph grabs a reporter and pushes him down and an unseen person then throws an egg that hits Randolph on the head.
  • Randolph kicks over a TV and then repeatedly smashes it with a lamp.
  • We see Sheldon fly through the air and tackle a man working for a charity, and then grab his clothes and throttle him around a bit.
  • Some men grab a costumed character, hit and beat him (seen in silhouette) and then shoot him several times with a handgun (no blood or gore). This is a repeat of the first scene.
  • We see a man raising an ax to take to a corrupt man after he's been beaten. While we don't see the impact, we hear that the victim was decapitated.
  • Randolph holds a gun on Sheldon and Nora. She eventually gets Sheldon to grab the gun and so he does, and he and Randolph briefly struggle over it. Nora then hits Randolph on the head with a large book.
  • Buggy grabs Angelo and ties him up with what look like electrical cords.
  • An assassin gets a few shots off at a costumed character, hitting the top of its fake head, but the wearer is okay (despite falling to the ground and initially appearing hurt). Randolph and the assassin then struggle over the rifle, with both eventually dangling from a catwalk. The assassin then falls to his death by landing on the ice several stories below (we don't see the impact).
  • Sheldon slowly searches, gun drawn, for a man who's hiding from him. That man then comes out, hits Sheldon on the head and then kicks him several times. He then pulls out a gun, but another person shows up and holds a gun to him. Sheldon then punches the bad guy in the face and holds a gun to his head and nearly shoots him, but stops.



  • Reviewed March 26, 2002 / Posted March 29, 2002

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