April 13, 2002


The smoochy parables (Maggie Gallagher, April 10, 2002, TownHall.com)
Quick, run to the theater and see "Death to Smoochy" before it dies the death of a thousand critic bites. Roger Ebert gave it a major thumbs down: "In all the annals of the movies, few films have been this odd, inexplicable and unpleasant."

Odd, yes. I have never seen Hollywood make a movie like this. The film is a parody not of children's TV so much as people who hate children's TV -- an out-and-out attack on pseudo-sophisticates who despise the pretenses of adults that make childhood innocence possible. Call a movie like that "Death to Smoochy," slap on a well-deserved R rating (for sexual references, cartoon violence and profanity), and what do you expect? The people who show up to hoot at Barney's demise are bound to be sorely disappointed. [...]

"Death to Smoochy" is only a humorous Hollywood film, with cartoon villains and slapshot comedy. But what makes it funny is the dead-on shot it takes at a society where too many adults see protecting the kids as someone else's job, and the too many of us also tempted to believe that grit, corruption and despair are somehow more authentic, more interesting, more real than faith, hope and charity.

Thanks to a surfeit of kids, we won't be running to the theater, but this delightfully contrarian take on the film does vastly increase the likelihood that we'll rent it when it comes out on DVD--which, from the savagery of the other reviews, sounds like it could be as soon as next week. If nothing else it is always a pleasure to root against the vile Robin Williams. Posted by Orrin Judd at April 13, 2002 8:06 AM
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