OH NO YOU DIDN’T #4: McConaughey + Gary Oldman playing his dwarf twin brother! TIPTOES review by COOP
This movie came out in 2003. I think we all missed it because it went direct to DVD with zero publicity and as you can guess, there’s a good reason why. It’s a wannabe politically correct comedy disguised as an very un-PC comedy that comes across as so mean-spirited that it fails both comedically and dramatically.
Trainwreck doesn’t even begin to describe this fascinating oddity of a film. McConaughey plays a firefighting instructor preparing to marry his outrageously gorgeous punk girlfriend played by Kate Beckinsale. When by chance she meets his hunchback dwarf brother Rolfe (Oldman on his knees for the entire movie), she’s horrified. Her fiancee somehow neglected to inform her that he’s a normal-size human amidst an entire family of dwarfs (dwarves?). The greater part of her horror stems from the fact that she just found out she’s pregnant is is frightened that her child may harbor genetics that will result in dwarfism. Despite her repulsion, she befriends Oldman and her fiance’s family to discover she adores them and they put her fears at ease by suggesting doctor referrals and giving kind advice.
McC isn’t happy at all. He obviously knew she would find out eventually, but he harbors a secret shame for his family and for dwarfs in general. The plot comes to a head after the baby is born, resulting in a twist is that sends the story into even stranger territory. Then POW, the movie suddenly ends and you’re scratching your head going, “Did that just happen? Is that it?” It’s like a studio exec did a running dive yelling, “NOOOOOOO!!!” and pulled the plug so the movie wouldn’t offend anyone anymore than they already had.
I haven’t seen a film this subversively offensive since Bobcat Goldthwait’s “Shakes the Clown.” If it wasn’t so obvious that it was one of the biggest studio missteps in history, I’d say this was almost intended as a weirdo masterpiece. By the way it’s rated-R. The f-bombs, especially from the little people, fly fast and furious. This ain’t “Under the Rainbow.” You’ve got little people urinating, little people having sex, little people vomiting, David Alan Grier in a James Brown wig having sex with little people, a Middle Eastern immigrant savagely beating little Gary Oldman and so on… This film is full of vileness, especially in the first half.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all fun and games with little people. Most of it is an attempt at serious drama. You’ll know when you’re not supposed to laugh anymore when the sad piano music starts up. Beckinsale will cry, McC will punch a wall and Oldman will look glum. Actually Oldman looks glum for the entire movie. He’s not even likable. NO ONE is likable in this movie. Not even Patricia Arquette who plays a normal-sized crazy hippie who hooks up with Rolfe’s best (French) friend played by little person, Peter Dinklage. Only McC and Oldman’s family comes across as sympathetic. Beckinsale has her moments towards the end but the forced strangeness of her circumstances makes it hard to buy into her motivations.
I sometimes wonder if little people are so desperate for acting work that they’d begrudgingly resign themselves to projects like this. Some great actors among them are in here. We have Pete Dinklage, Michael J. Anderson (The Dwarf from “Twin Peaks”), there’s that woman who played the dwarf hooker in “Total Recall” and one very emotive small actress who looks oddly like Gwen Stefani. Even if desperation explains their participation, it still doesn’t explain the involvement of McC, Oldman, Beckinsale or Arquette; all of whom are far from needing a exploitive meal ticket.
Nope, this impossible to fathom bomb defies all logic and good sense to the point that only a tear in the fabric of reality could’ve resulted in its creation. Not even Ed Wood himself could’ve conjured up and produced something so preposterously bewildering.
And that’s why I think you should see it. It’s the “Plan 9 from Outer Space” of the 00’s.
Don’t believe me? Have a look at the trailer. If this doesn’t have you howling with outraged laughter, nothing will…
Gonna see it? Good, you totally should.
Now let us never speak of it again.
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