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Rushmore

Reviewed By Erik Childress
Posted 02/17/00 04:46:28

"Was There Another Cut That I Missed?"
3 stars (Average)

Rushmore (** ˝) - Whenever the title of Rushmore ever comes up in conversation from this day on, a profound look of disappointment will rush over my face.

When was the last time anyone has heard such critical raves from the highest mountains for a comedy? Seeing Roger Ebert’s star rating of 2 ˝ stars, I thought he was playing the role of the curmudgeon who has to spoil the party. After Saturday night’s viewing I realized where he was coming from. This film is the sophomore effort of director Wes Anderson, whose Bottle Rocket is one of the under-received gems of recent years. That film was a wonderful piece of quirky writing with even quirkier characters - a pair of best friends who want to become professional thieves - one of them who had checked himself into a mental clinic for exhaustion even though he was in his 20s and never worked a day in his life. Rushmore is a film with a lot of promise. Unfortunately most of it gets wasted. The character of Max Fischer is a true original and Bill Murray’s Mr. Blume is equally fun - but what goes wrong? While some of my friends classified the film as boring - I looked to it as incomplete. Maybe there’s a lot of important footage on the cutting room floor (considering its only a 93-minute film). The laughs (while big) are few and far between. Scenes seem to end before they have a chance to begin which will leave most viewers in kind of a daze wondering what this film is really supposed to be about. I wanted more (a lot more) of Bill Murray who, in his few scenes, give us a promise of a truly terrific characterization, but we’re only given shades - a teaser - when Murray deserves a full trailer. I wanted to see Murray more with his kids and more one-on-one scenes between him and Max. I wanted to see Max incorporate more of his talents and extracurricular activities into his revenge tactics against Herman Blume. His methods come across as no more interesting than the ideas in Norm McDonald’s failed comedy Dirty Work. The character of the teacher really isn’t given much to developing a full character. Although I like the way she handles her scenes with Max, she comes off as just a mere object that is there for the two guys to fight over.

I mentioned the big laughs and I’ll mention them again, because they almost push the movie into a minor recommendation. The “Oh Are They?” dinner scene is a minor classic but even seems cut a little short. I’d like to recommend this film but I can’t. It’s shortcomings are too prevalent wasting what originality there was to begin with. Max Fischer and Mr. Blume didn’t deserve this film.

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