My Name is Bruce (2007) is a horror comedy with emphasis decidedly on comedy.
Spoofing the horror genre, even the beheadings are strictly for the laughs, meaning characterization doesn't matter or it wouldn't be funny to see convincingly developed characters turned into "funny" killings.
The film is a big disappointment as a result due to a terrible, terrible script out of which Bruce's comedic talents only occasionally squeezes real laughs.
Sure, Bruce Campbell at his best can be very funny as a physical commedian, but if there's also an exciting story we can believe in just a little bit, that's so much better. This one's strictly goofy-toons, & certainly Bruce as self-director doesn't even try for suspense or terror. It might not be entirely his fault, as he's saddled with a maddenly amateurish script.
Bruce is playing himself, a star of B horror flicks. In this version of himself, he is depicted as making the worst films conceivable & is a complete jerkwad as a human being.
He is even the subject of an episode of the television series "Where Are They Now?" which has just assumed he hasn't made films in years, & "Where Are They Now?" not knowing he has kept pumping them out damages his overblown ego.
He's on location filming Cavealien II (pronouced with soft A's cah-vah-lien), sequel to the worst of his miserable films. (Among the dvd's extras, most of them funnier than the film itself, there's a fake trailer for the fake movie Cavealien II, & it's a hoot.)
Meanwhile in some hilljack dirtwater town in the middle of Nowhere, Oregon, four teenagers enter an old Chinese graveyard, kick over some wooden gravemarkers, then remove a protective amulet from the entrance of an old mine in which one-hundred Chinese laborers were buried alive in a horrible accident a century ago.
Three of the four teens are in consequence comically slain by the Chinese God Guan-di, protector of the downtrodden & of beancurd.
The carved wooden mask for Guan-di is absolutely gorgeous, but unfortunately gets mostly hidden under an ineffective long white beard. The mask was made by the guy playing Guan-di, James J. Peck, a well known maskmaker.
The Guan-di costume overall just looks like a costume, nothing special, not convincingly demonic or supernatural, it's just clothes. So as monsters go, it's definitely funnier than it is scary, & it's not all that funny.
Horror film nurd Jeff (Taylor Sharpe), the survivor from the Chinese graveyard, has created a veritable museum in his bedroom to "the world's best actor," Bruce Campbell.
Being slightly divorced from reality, Jeff quickly figures out that if monsters like Guan-di are real, then monster slayers like Bruce Campbell must also be real. So he kidnaps Bruce to the nowhere town of Goldlick.
Bruce, thinking it's a prank for his birthday arranged by his agent, goes along with the gag until he's led the townfolk to the mine shaft where he discovers the monster is for real. When the beacurd god shows up, his brave act vanishes, he yells "retreat," runs like hell, shooting over his shoulder, killing some townfolk running along behind him.
This is most disappointing for Jeff & Jeff's mom (Grace Thorsen) who has been Bruce's very attractive love-interest & an hysterically funny dancer.
You can write the rest of the film yourself, as there are no surprises. Bruce comes to grips with his cowardice & returns to help Jeff & his mom destroy the beancurd god.
The shtick that goes with this success is fairly lame stuff. "Jokes" include falling off the back of a truck, watching Gwan-di stack packages of tofu, Bruce getting blown up with as much effect as cartoon sheriff Quickdraw McGraw shot pointblank in the face. So as slapstick goes it's going to be a hard decision whether or not to pause the tape when going for the bathroom break.
Not particularly special moments in the film are provided by Ted Raimi, usually a good-enough character actor, but incompetent in this. He plays three roles: 1) a hillbilly sign painter who does get one of the film's few good jokes as he lies dying; 2) Bruce's annoying agent Mills Toddner who is boinking Bruce's ex-wife; & 3) the old Chinese guy, Wing, last descendant of the hundred Chinese laborers who died in the gold mine. This last is far too racistly portrayed to be the least bit funny, having no jokes to deliver beyond being a racist stereotype, & shame on Bruce Campbell for again showing himself tone-deaf to what's actually funny & what never can be.
There were a couiple times I laughed out loud, so My Name is Bruce is not a complete waste of time. But the horror part is so ridiculous & void of suspense or terror that I really didn't like the film. I liked the dvd extras a lot more than the film.
The primary extra is the hour-long making-of documentary with spoofy interviews, Heart of Dorkness: The Making of My Name is Bruce (2007). It manages to be informative as well as witty, packed with amusing references to Apocolapse Now & to the original novella that inspired it, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
The second-best extra was a total spoof of a making-of documentary, Beyond the Inside of the Cave: Making of Cavealien 2 (2007), directed by "Marcus Hamsterstein" who I presume is actually Mark T. Elliott who was cameraman & secondary director for the real behind-the-scenes documentary.
It's a spot-on parody done with a complete pokerface by the cast & crew who hate the star, hate being in the film they're in. Hate has never been funnier. Add in the fake trailer for the same non-existent movie & some additional comical extras strictly for laughs, these are worth the rental price of the disc even if the movie isn't.
Sreat the extras as the main comedy rental & watch the lame movie as though it were the extra. But don't waste money buying the disc, it's doubtful anyone will ever want to see the movie twice.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl