More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.22%
Worth A Look43.82%
Average: 8.99%
Pretty Bad: 7.87%
Total Crap: 19.1%

5 reviews, 59 user ratings

Latest Reviews

To the Ends of the Earth by Jay Seaver

Wood Job! by Jay Seaver

News of the World by Rob Gonsalves

Promising Young Woman by Rob Gonsalves

Wonder Woman 1984 by Rob Gonsalves

Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone by Rob Gonsalves

Mank by Rob Gonsalves

Wander Darkly by Rob Gonsalves

Stand In, The by Rob Gonsalves

MLK/FBI by alejandroariera

subscribe to this feed

Death to Smoochy
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Brian McKay

"The Rhino is up way past his bedtime"
2 stars

Ironically, the kiddie-show parody "Death to Smoochy" suffers from the same problem as most of the shows it pokes fun at - it runs on for far too long, certainly longer than it is able to maintain a firm hold on the attention span of it's intended audience. Yes, there are several funny laugh-out-loud bits, but as the two-hour film drones past its appropriate 80-90 minute running time, the laughter succumbs to a terminal case of AI-tis. (you know, that real long Kubrick film that Spielberg butchered by making it even longer).

Yes, it is nice to see Robin Williams do something different from the usual smarmy pap of the "Patch Adams" ilk that his career has degenerated into. But if he is guilty of overplaying the sentimentality card in his past several films, then he takes it too far to the other extreme om "Smoochy". The bulk of his antics is pretty much him flying into a rage and saying "Motherfucker" a lot. Sure, it's fun the first dozen times, but after the thirtieth, it gets a bit tired.

The ridiculous premise of "Death to Smoochy" is that a popular kid's network kiddie-show host, "Rainbow Randolph" (Williams), has fallen from grace due to an FBI bust on some payola charges (Why the fuck the FBI would waste their time on this petty bullshit is beyond me). So he loses his show and is out on the street. Meanwhile, the network exec in charge of development(John Stewart) and his associate, Nora (Catherine Keener) are scrambling to find a replacement, one who is untouched by scandal. The only one they can find without a sordid past is Smoochy the Rhino, aka Sheldon Mopes (Edward Norton), a guy who does gigs at children's hospitals and methadone clinics. Both in and out of costume, he is a vegan poster boy whose motto is "you can't change the world, but you can make a dent."

They give Smoochie his own show, and Nora quickly aims to cash in with merchandising, against Sheldon's wishes. All he wants to do is make children happy while using his folksy kid songs to spout new-age platitudes and deliver a morality lesson. Nora despises him as a no-talent phony, while being secrety attracted to him (the first rule of predictably crappy films - whenever a male and female character despise each other, they will be fucking by the third reel).

Meanwhile, Randolph embarks on numerous attempts to sabotage Smoochie's show and get his old time slot back (the "Magic Cookie" scene is the best of these attempts by far). He's not the only one scheming, however, as a number of shady mafioso characters (Played by Danny Devito, who also directs, and Harvey Firestein) are trying to horn in on Smoochie's action, strong-arming him into performing ice shows and other appearances to supposedly benefit children's hospitals. When Sheldon asks Firestein's character "Do your events really benefit children's hospitals?" the reply is "We've been known to add a brick or two".

Needless to say, the "plot" is all downhill from there. Despite the initial abundance of hilarious scenes, there's nothing substantial to hold it all together. Tedious and overlong, it ends with a whimper in the form of a sappy feel-good ending. Its attempts to make fun of the smarmy and saccharine nature of kiddie entertainment end up being a mere duplication rather than a parody. While the acting is competent, you can never get a clear handle on Norton's character, or really care enough about him to hazard a guess. Likewise, Keener's character is overly bitchy and overly simplified. Jon Stewart is pretty much scenery and should either stick to the Daily Show or read better scripts. And Williams? well, you can try and make him as nasty and loony as you want, but it's still the same old Robin Williams. Been there, done that, good evening Vietnam.

If you don't mind mining out the nuggets of comedic gold from the sluice of shit, then you probably won't mind the extra 40 minutes that this film meanders on for after you think it's about to end. Let's just be glad that "Death to Smoochy" is neither box-office worthy or sequel-friendly, and that Smoochy will most likely die with this film.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 04/11/02 18:51:03
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

11/13/11 JP Ward Not "dark". Not "satire". Not "edgy", unless you count odd camera angles. 1 stars
2/20/11 Ark Hilarious, sophisticated, overlooked! U want your little booger eater in the big chair? 5 stars
12/28/09 Dane Youssef Funny. Dark. Surreal. Crazy. Like "The Sopranos" on Nickelodeon. Not for all tastes. 4 stars
7/08/09 *Holy_J@lapeno* Had some very funny parts. Its a dark humor movie people!!!!! 3 stars
7/20/08 Shaun Wallner Loved it Robin Williams is great! 4 stars
8/01/06 John Aster Habig What is the deal with that crazy b&*^% Nora 4 stars
12/05/05 Mike Collin hasn't a clue about the point. Good satire albeit flawed. 4 stars
8/27/05 ES The ups and downs in this movie are hilarious, note the public burning scene with Williams 4 stars
2/07/05 Elizaveta my kind of humor! 5 stars
1/17/05 Jeff Anderson Forget R. Williams and E. Norton, CATHERINE KEENER SAVES THIS FILM IN A GREAT PERFORMANCE. 3 stars
9/27/04 alicia a riot.. if only they hadn't tied in a "love story" 4 stars
3/13/04 Dan Underated movie, had some great moments. Williams gave an excellent performance. 4 stars
2/26/04 Mae SO funny. 5 stars
12/23/03 the Grinch Death to Sucky Satire 2 stars
12/12/03 Geo78665 A missed opportunity, but decent enough. 3 stars
12/01/03 *A Monotonous Creton Who Loves Tom Hulce* "Death To All Of The Shitheads Who Hate Smoochy!" is more like it 5 stars
10/28/03 me "It's's uhhh...rocketship!" 5 stars
10/06/03 Rachael Harris I loved it and i want the smoochie costume 5 stars
9/26/03 Zeurdoos Great concept worked out nice 4 stars
4/20/03 Dillon Extraordinarily unfunny, uninspired waste of talent & money 1 stars
4/10/03 Jack Bourbon Pointless movie, but I liked Smoochy's singin'. 3 stars
4/04/03 mike danny devito is an incompetant fuck and contaminates any movie hes in. 1 stars
3/16/03 Film Dude Underrated. 4 stars
2/05/03 natasha_theobald great cast, some funny moments 4 stars
1/16/03 Lindsey Repp I want those 2 hours of my life back. 1 stars
1/07/03 B Dubbs I thought it was ok... not great, but ok 4 stars
11/04/02 Gary This review is pure garbage... Got to give hats off to the message the film delivered, and 5 stars
10/30/02 Zelemont Funny... and just weird as hell. 5 stars
10/22/02 brien I wanna do the jiggy ziggy!!!! 5 stars
10/14/02 Uncle Salty See this movie. One more laugh and I would have been convinced Williams was back on crack. 5 stars
10/03/02 Michaelb14 Charity mobsters and big pink rhinos, funny and bizarre 4 stars
10/03/02 Jason I love Norton, I love Williams, I LOVE SMOOCHY 5 stars
10/02/02 Unanon very quoteable in parts... I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. 4 stars
9/28/02 HekiliKoa I don't see this as dark comedy but a step to the side, into the pure bizarre 4 stars
9/22/02 The Bomb 69 how could anyone like this!!! I love dark comedy but I couldn't finish this crap!!! 1 stars
9/21/02 NWO4LIFE "I'm a wicked man, who's done wicked acts" Williams is a riot. 4 stars
9/19/02 Gregory worst in my lifetime and i'm 52 1 stars
9/12/02 laron chapman SUCKS ASS 3 stars
9/10/02 Danielle Ophelia These are the kinds of comedies I miss...sick and vulgar without being simply GROSS. 4 stars
5/16/02 Stephanie Throckmorton A worst-of-both-worlds mixture of sentimentality and irreverence. Abhorrent. 1 stars
5/12/02 Boss Hawg that was the funniest fucking movie i ever saw 5 stars
4/17/02 Sean Herman Requires some suspension of disbelief, and a bit of playing along...but excellent overall. 4 stars
4/14/02 Pete Idiotic crap from start to finish. 1 stars
4/08/02 bullit17 Norton and Williams are great. The rest, ehhh, not so hot. 3 stars
4/08/02 Titus Strange movie, but highly entertaining. 4 stars
4/05/02 Edfink Lombardo The Best Film so far this year! Very dark, very demented, and very very funny! 5 stars
4/03/02 Superdave very funny 4 stars
4/02/02 Raiven Death to DeVito, Death to Williams, I want my 9 dollars back! 1 stars
4/02/02 Banky Edwards fuck! That was a funny movie....I laughed at things I shouldn't have...I'm going to hell! 5 stars
4/01/02 ajayrockrock several laugh-out-loud moments, but it still felt "long". 4 stars
4/01/02 Mister Char brillant, edward norton's character is very strange after him in Fight club 5 stars
4/01/02 teresa Boring at times,some laughs,could not wait for it to end.Comes together at the end.too long 3 stars
4/01/02 matt kierbow Robin Williams is just as funny as he was in good morning vietnam 5 stars
3/31/02 Jamer My expectations were too high, but I still enjoyed it (at the matinee price). 3 stars
3/31/02 brent young a great dark comedy, though it chickens out a few times...worth the ticket $ and more. 4 stars
3/31/02 Film Dude no petzold, this was a good movie 5 stars
3/31/02 Michael petzold this movie was so stupid I think robin williams carrer has down down the **** hole 1 stars
3/29/02 Frankly Amazing movie, cracked out at times, but worth your money. 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  29-Mar-2002 (R)



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast