Reviewed By Thom
Posted 07/02/02 07:30:26

"Funny, satirical and insightful. A slowly draining hair plug of a film."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

You know, we just like Christina Ricci. "Why do Goth's love her so much?", I am asked as if I am the expert on all things Goth. "Because she was Wednesday Addams", I reply. "That's it", she says? "Yup, That's it." I reply. Remember when Ricci was all thick and juicy in The Opposite of Sex? Well, she's not anymore.

She may have lost the weight but she hasn't lost that slightly subversive mischeviousness that comes no doubt from having spent too much time in close proximity to John Waters.

Natasha Lyonne in But I'm A Cheerleader pulled off a funny, satirical character and played it straight (no pun intended). Ricci does the same in Pumpkin. Her character, Carolyn McDuffy, daughter of a spoiled social maven has lived her priveleged, protected life untouched by icky reality. During rush week, her number two sorority depends on her to bring them to number one. They've chosen a winner of a social cause, working with the Challenged Games - an obvious play on the Special Olympics.

Carolyn gets assigned to Pumpkin and thus the rest of the film ensues.

Now, if you are into Retard humour, keep reading. While the film isn't really poking fun at retards, it does rely on retard inspired events for situation comedy. So, please, stop pointing your Politically Correct pistols at me and put them away.

Isn't McDuff the beer in the Simpsons? or perhaps MacDuff the Crime Dog, or is that McGruff? There was some resonance there, Shakespeare maybe? MacDuff was the guy who killed MacBeth and crowned the pretender, Malcolm, to the throne.

I don't think there is that deep a parallel.

Broder and Abrams fully commit to their characters and draw them out to proportions that threaten to turn them into caricatures. The goofy playfullness of the film however, is sobered by insightful commentary in much the same way The Simpsons and South Park leaving you rolling in the aisles with a heightened awareness of the human geography.

Brenda Blethyn, who first astounded me in A River Runs Through It , turns in an impressive supporting role as Pumpkin's mother and Marisa Coughlan plays a Julie to rival Julia Campbell's Christy Masters in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion

While Carolyn is finding she has a heart, she is also discovering she has a soul when she tackles a poetry workshop for needed credit. Between Poetry and Pumpkin, Carolyn redeems herself and matriculates into the nappy dreaded world of communal veganism and becomes something like Cousin Marilyn in the Munsters.

Juxtaposition is funny, right? It can also serve as an object lesson in identity and meaning (two words I throw around so much I should just trademark the phrase) and Carolyn gets to see what she is, by seeing what she isn't.

But love is a harsh mistress, a latex wearing, whip wielding dominatrix with a 7 inch stilleto heal poised at your prone throat. Carolyn cannot resist her.

Without the jokes this would be a very weird After School Special. With the jokes, it is still a very weird After School Special.

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