Jamie Bell, Glenn Close, William Fichtner, Allison Janney, Ralph Fiennes, Rita
Wilson, Justin Chatwin, Camilla Belle, John Heard, Josh Janowiwicz, Carrie-Anne
Moss and Lou Taylor Pucci
Directed by: Ari Posin
speaking? The Chumscrubber is an American Beauty-like visceral
tale of the under belly of the SUV-Satellite dish - label wearing - primetime
snorting suburban mythology of the American Dream; even pretty shiny silver teapots
are terribly tannic stained within. The film has a cast that'll make you squeal
with thespian loving delight, and several interesting comingling stories running
at warp speed at one time - like life.
Dean Stiffle (Jamie
Bell), an introverted everywhere suburb kid, has discovered his close friend -
dead - from apparent suicide. He walks out of the teen's room into a soiree of
the smiling pseudo-happy adults that populate his little maze of cookie-utter
houses. He says nothing.
people at his party are not evil, they just have years on their kids and have
a different look at life - they are ready for the more mundane - safe no surprises
- life. Their kids are not.
death sprouts up some inner-teen trouble that Dean will have to navigate through
alone. He tries to enlist the help of his parents (Allison Janney and William
Fichtner), but they are too involved in their own lives to actually notice his.
Soon, this secret world of 'Lord of the Flies'-ish teens erupts into a
hostage situation (very realistically). The bad kids at Dean's school (Justin
Chatwin, Camilla Belle and Lou Taylor Pucci) step way over the edge in trying
to retrieve something their deceased friend was dealing with them
stomach starts to churn about here.
Chumscrubber is another of those wonderful honest and telling looks at what
goes on behind closed doors in bedroom communities. It's surprisingly original
despite itself. The Chumbscrubber does have a few bulbous blemishes a-burst
on Prom night though. For example the film's namesake, "The Chumscrubber,"
is a video game character that seems forced, nay, wedged into a few scenes to
give us some metaphor for something. Then the end goes all Spielberg on
us ala the sting of A.I.; that tad too long nailing
the point, allowing the end to go on-and-on - and again with a whole weird ill-placed
ode to the creepy ambiguous yarn of the Chumscrubber character dealy.
the meat of the film is prime; performances are rich and juicy - and the
reason to see the film really. William Fichtner, as Dr. Bill Stiffle, is an obliviously
driven Dr. Phil without the heart smiling dad from hell - bravo.
Fiennes, as Mayor Michael Ebbs, shows up as a bizarre "enlightened"
sort wading in the horizon (really just a pre-art clique martini-balancing city
dweller presently trapped among the suburbanites). Fiennes is grand at that whole
" insane in a flash" style of character
Wilson, as Terri Bratley of Terri Bratley Designs, is a bitch on wheels as the
valedictorian of Social Climber School; be frightened be very frightened - "she"
IS out there.
Glenn Close, as Mrs. Johnson (so invisible she has no first name
in another of those wildly unsettling roles Glenn dishes so grandly. Alison Janney
- well, need I really say more? Has she ever not delivered magic within the frames?
note - aside from the pristine adult, and established do-gooders - is Jamie Bell.
He rides through the town's crests of indifference and keeps the audience following
the flow of the often oh-so-trendy 'Desperate Housewives' leaning film, that thanks
in no short part to the talents involved above and listed in the cast list, make
this film important.
Zac Stanford and director Arie Posin nailed the parallel worlds of the young vs.
the elder clansman
just wish they'd have reworked the video excerps, and
of course the subject matter has been done to death, still the actors excel
recommendation: HomeTown Buffet (I kid, I'm a kidder