Death to Smoochy (2002) Running Time: 109 min. Stars: Robin Williams, Edward Norton, Danny DeVito Found at: HiettWell-loved children’s show host Rainbow Randolph (Williams) suddenly finds himself the center of a scandal, and is subsequently fired and shunned by all his former fans. Enter Smoochy the Rhino (Norton). Sheldon Mopes (Norton), the actor who created and plays Smoochy truly has a heart of gold. However, his mettle is often put to the test during his rise through the underbelly of children’s entertainment. He is assaulted by the Irish mob, charity hit men, and even a revenge-seeking Rainbow Randolph, but still retains his squeaky-clean outlook.
Comments: It doesn’t get much darker than this. Everyone is corrupt right to the bone-everyone except Smoochy, of course. What begins as the typical simpleton-as-hero film (think Adam Sandler in “Mr. Deeds”) evolves into something much more unique. The plot certainly contains all the earmarks of most Hollywood films, but all the incredible characters give this movie a twist. Rainbow Randolph is a time-bomb ready to go off (and he does, several times), the president of a national charity is nothing but a gangster, and former boxing-star Spinner Dunn is a brain-damaged moron who just wants to play the cowbell. The eclectic cast, the twisted plot, the well-planned direction: it all makes for an incredible if not uplifting film. “Smoochy” is definitely suitable for a late-night laugh. A-