Death to Smoochy (2002)
Running Time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Danny DeVito
Starring: Robin Williams, Edward Norton, Catherine Keener, Danny DeVito
Death to Smoochy is a black comedy about a kids show host, Rainbow Randolph Smiley (Williams) who is fired in disgrace when he is caught by the FBI making deals with parents who want their kids on his show. He is then replaced by Sheldon Mopes aka Smoochy the Rhino (Norton) who is “squeaky clean” and has a genuine sincerity in creating quality child edutainment. However, the entertainment business ain’t as easy as it seems, and Sheldon discovers that the people that he works with are only in the business for the money. Meanwhile, Randolph is slowly losing his mind as he focuses on getting back to his old life and doing whatever it takes to get back to the top.
What is so great about this film is its ability to show what the entertainment business or the real world is like these days, and what happens when a genuine person with a dream to change the world for the better is thrown into the game. Edward Norton and Robin Williams both gave an amazing performance portraying their characters – Norton as the almost innocent and kindhearted Sheldon and Williams as the corrupted and sneaky Randolph. In addition, with comedians Jon Stewart as the two-faced associate and Danny DeVito as Sheldon’s agent provided more comedic relief to the film.
DeVito also did a great job directing the film, it reminded me of the comedies made in the 90s, and he definitely has his own distinctive style of filmmaking. This film reminded me of the 1996 Matilda with its close-ups to the characters’ expressions to highlight the situation and emotions, as well as the sound effects to complement them.
Overall, Death to Smoochy is a hilarious movies, what with Robin Williams’ one-liners and ad-libbing, and a great cast to bring the story to life. Highly recommended to anyone who’s looking for a light, funny and feel good movie.
Rating: 7 out of 10