Sunday, January 4, 2015

Tusk Movie Review – "I don't want to die in Canada"

Runtime: 102 minutes
Release Date: September 14, 2014
Rating: R
Director: Kevin Smith

Wallace (Justin Long, Drag Me to Hell) is a cross between the director himself, Kevin Smith, and Howard Stern. Along with his best friend Teddy (Haley Joel Osment, The Sixth Sense), he hosts a podcast that seems to hold no purpose other than to make fun of others and act like teenage boys. After showcasing a boy on their show, Wallace decides to go to Canada and interview the boy in person.

Not long after arriving, he discovers that the young man committed suicide. In the hopes of finding another story, he wanders into a bar and accidentally stumbles on an ad in the bathroom from a man claiming that he went on a number of adventures over his life and wants to share his stories with someone else.

Wallace drives right to the man's house and meets Howard (Michael Parks, Red State) for himself. Now confined to a wheelchair, Howard spends the first night telling him stories about his crazy life and how a walrus once saved his life. After drinking a cup of tea, Wallace passes out. The next morning, he wakes and hears Howard tell him how he was bitten by a spider the night before and how a doctor had to amputate his leg below the knee.

It doesn't take long before Wallace realizes that there is something far more sinister going on. During a fight, Howard gets to his feet and shows that he can actually walk. He then reveals that he wants to turn Wallace into Mr. Tusk, the walrus that once saved his life. The film then jumps back and forth between the operations that Howard does on Wallace to scenes of Teddy and Wallace's girlfriend on the hunt for him and helped along the way by a bumbling former police detective played by Johnny Depp.

It's no secret that I love, love, love Kevin Smith. I have a Mallrats poster hanging on my wall, the expensive anniversary and original copies of his DVDs, and I was probably the only person who watched the Clerks cartoon when it actually aired on television. Not knowing about Tusk until a few months ago, I was actually looking forward to seeing it. Now that I have, I can officially say that there is one Kevin Smith movie I'll never watch again.

The best way to describe Tusk is irritating. There were actually a few hints of something great, but it just never got there for me. Justin Long usually does a good job as the funny guy, but it actually felt like he tried too hard here. His character is just so unlikeable that it almost felt like Smith was trying to show him down the throats of viewers. Oh, he wants to start a mock political party called the Not-Cee Party (say it out loud)? How hysterical! Oh, he thinks the kid was selfish for killing himself before he got his interview? Hardy har-har.

Watching this with my quasi significant other and my roommate was entertaining. The roommate, who found Smith after I made him watch all his films, fell asleep halfway through and only woke up towards the end, and the significant other kept making excuses to get up and leave. I was the only one who paid attention through the whole thing, and I'm a little sad that I did.

What happens to Wallace should have been disgusting and horrifying, but given how unlikeable the guy is, you don't really care. Johnny Depp playing a moronic detective on the hunt for a serial killer should have been entertaining, but it just came across as forced. Despite liking most of what Smith does, Tusk just absolutely fell flat.

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