Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Bruce Teaches Logical Positivism, and is Also in Charge of the Sheep Dip.

First, let me say that I am a fan of Bruce Campbell. I own the special director's cut of Army of Darkness, I loved him on Xena and Hercules, and I got a lot of pleasure out of Bubba Ho-tep. But this week Bruce tried my loyalty severely, as I paid $8 to see his newest cheesy flick, "Man with the Screaming Brain."

I expected a screwball parody of 1950's horror/monster genre. I expected it to be at least as good as Steve Martin's kind-of-funny, kind-of-terrible "Man with Two Brains." Instead I got the lamest, most awful waste of 90 minutes I've ever experienced in a theatre. I've walked out of bad movies before (most notably "Office Killer," which was so bad I almost threw up right there in the theatre) but I felt a certain duty to stay at "Screaming Brain"--mainly because I'd dragged two friends to see it, and because I wanted to see if Bruce saved it at the end. I'll save the rest of you the trouble of wondering: he didn't.

For anyone who might be considering seeing this movie, let me sum up the plot for you. A gypsy woman who runs a bridal shop keeps getting ditched by men, so she kills 'em. Completely unconnectedly, a mad scientist (Stacy Keach, for god's sake where did they find HIM?) and his assistant (Ted Raimi) are working on brain transplant technology in the same Bulgarian town. And a drug company exec (Campbell) and his wife (some Australian chick trying to sound American) are having marital problems and riding around in a taxi cab driven by an admittedly entertaining Russian guy (some Bulgarian guy.) This is the entire first half of the movie. Then, in rapid succession, the gypsy kills Campbell, his wife, and the taxi driver. Ted Raimi somehow gets their bodies for his boss, and they put half the taxi guy's brain into Bruce Campbell's body, and the wife's brain into a robot with a blonde wig. TaxiBruce then engages in some typically Campbell style physical comedy, which could have been funny if they'd planned it better but instead consists of him slapping himself around at a salad bar and falling down a lot. Robotwife goes on a rampage looking for Gypsy; TaxiBruce realizes that he needs to kill the gypsy also, and then interminable chase scenes followed by poorly choreographed combat ensue. Rinse. Repeat. Repeat. Finally, mercifully, everyone dies except Ted and Stacy.... only because the mad scientist has figured out how to perfect the surgery (apparently being dead doesn't damage brains at all, at least not these idiots' brains) we have a happy ending moment where we see that TaxiBruce and the newly constructed GypsyWife live happily ever after, donating their millions to brain research charities.

This review, right now, is officially funnier than the movie, and it's not that funny. I expected better from Bruce's directorial debut.... Oh well. At least i didn't pay $10 at the sneak preview last week....