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Laramie Movie Scope:
Super

In mash-up of freakish comedy and grisly grinder violence, the laughs come first

[Strip of film rule]
by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

(2010) "All it takes to be a superhero is the choice to fight evil." Offsetting a life full of humiliation and rejection, Frank D'Abo (Rainn Wilson), a fry cook, cherishes two perfect events: his marriage to Sarah (Liv Tyler) and a crime-stopper's act.

A recovering alcoholic and drug addict when he'd married her - they'd met at Joe's Grill where she'd been a waitress - Sarah once again gets hooked, yet again humiliating Frank when she leaves him for Jacques (Kevin Bacon). After Detective John Felkner (Gregg Henry) explains that the police can't intervene when a wife voluntarily abandons her husband for another man, Frank experiences anther vision - at eight years of age he'd seen Jesus and when he'd seen Sarah he'd heard God's voice: "Marry her" - involving tentacles performing brain surgery on him followed by TV's Holy Avenger pronouncing the weird act as "The finger of God touching your brain."

At this point one could be excused for thinking that maybe Frank's the one on drugs. In a comic-book store, looking for Holy Avenger literature ("Some of his children are chosen"), he makes acquaintance with the 22-year-old salesgirl Libby (Ellen Page): "I gotta warn you, this is pretty fucking stupid. Well, I mean, unless you're laughing at how gay this is, 'cause then it's awesome."

Up to this point in director/writer James Gunn's radical mash-up of freakish comedy and grisly grinder violence, the laughs come first. Then Frank becomes the crime-fighting Crimson Bolt in a homemade red costume, wielding a wrench, crunching heads, and screaming: "Don't steal! Don't molest kids! Don't deal drugs!"

Is he a psycho-vigilante menace to society, sending people who butt in line at the theater to the hospital, or a true superhero? Paranoid of being found out, Frank prays to God for a sign of what he should do.

When he finds out that Jacques is a major drug dealer, and Jacques sends his henchmen after Frank, he goes to Libby, who proposes becoming "your kid sidekick" ("the Creeping Bam") Boltie. "No cussing," Frank tells the potty-mouthed, wacko-wild, hyper-vigilant Libby, and no making out, not even "between the panels."

Funny goes runny and red: a human head pounded repeatedly against a stone corner of a hearth cracks and spills its liquid of life. The humor transmogrifies into horribly brutal graphic violence as bullets puncture flesh and blades gash and slash, splashing blood.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2011 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)