Thursday, March 26, 2009

Exfanding Review: My Name is Bruce

My Name Is Bruce posterCampbell. Bruce Campbell.

A name all dorks know, and love. The most common thing you hear in regards to a Bruce Campbell movie goes something like this: "Well, the movie was pretty lousy, and the 'actors' were pretty lousy, and there was no discernible plot, but Bruce was awesome." And, therefore, said movie becomes "watch-able" and, eventually, it becomes a cult favorite.

With something like My Name is Bruce, the latest effort from the B-list (should be A-list!) icon, that notion is still essentially true. However, this film is also directed by Campbell, and his unique brand of humor creeps into all of the actors' performances. That, and a pretty well written script add to an overall enjoyable watching experience.

Bruce Campbell directingReleased by Dark Horse Indie, the film division of Dark Horse Comics, and written by the geek-friendly Mark Verheiden, Bruce is certainly a movie for Exfanding fans to take note of. There are plenty of references to Campbell's past films, and there are several "in-jokes" for the geeky crowd.

So, what's the film about, you ask? Well, personally I think the premise is pretty smart, and quite funny. Basically, an ancient and evil demon called Guan-di (the Chinese god of war and protector of the dead), has been awoken in the cemetery of the small, backwoods town of Gold Lick, Oregon, and begins to kill off denizens of the town.

Guandi at the mine shaftWith no one willing or able to confront the vengeful spirit, a local teenager (and Bruce Campbell fanatic) decides upon the only reasonable course of action.

Kidnap Bruce Campbell so he can vanquish the spirit.

Though angered and terrified at first by his kidnapping, Bruce soon comes to believe that the whole thing is a birthday present from his agent and he happily, and stupidly, goes along with said vanquishing. That is, until he figures out that the whole thing is real.

Bruce and his group look for GuandiThe film's (and, Bruce's) portrayal of Campbell as a drunken, mean, clueless, and falling star living in a tiny trailer is incredibly funny and, as always, Bruce brings great physical comedy to his himself.

While some of the other acting isn't...uhm...let's say "Sean Penn-like"...everyone else is more than passable in their roles. And, as with any Campbell flick, this one has so many elements of the downright absurd that I'll only mention my favorite of which here.

When the movie opens, three of the film's characters present background information through song, strumming away on their guitars and happily providing funny exposition to set things up. These characters pop up all along the way, keeping the viewer informed as things move along. Here are two of the singers, accompanied by their director.

Musical trioSo, overall impressions time. I liked the flick, and thought it was funny. It's a very low budget movie, something all Bruce fans are used to, and as such it has its charm. It's a ridiculous, strange comedy, and I think Exfanding readers might enjoy it. For Campbell fans, well, this is a must. And, for any of the uninitiated out there, give this one a shot as a rental.

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