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Screwed

Posted on

Screwed

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
PG-13
runtime:
81 minutes
performer:
Danny DeVito, Norm Macdonald, Dave Chappelle, Elaine Stritch
director:
Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
author:
Scott Alexander
genre:
Comedy

We gave it an F

Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski want to take their medicine. They’re the screenwriting duo who penned Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt, and Man on the Moon — marvelously original ironic biopics in which the lower the hero falls in the world’s eyes, the higher he rises in ours. Each of these movies was heady, audacious, and a box office dud. Combined, they grossed less money — $5.9 million, $20 million, and $35 million, respectively — than Deuce Bigalow or Blue Streak alone. And so Alexander and Karaszewski are trying to reassert their value. In their first outing as writer-directors, they’ve made a black-comic farce called Screwed, and it’s a shrill, stupid, brickbat-blatant piece of hackwork that practically sweats to be ”commercial.”

The film stars Norm Macdonald, who, even when he’s being interviewed, comes off like a zombie impersonating a game-show host; when he attempts to act, he’s even stiffer. He plays Willard, manservant to Miss Crock (Elaine Stritch), a sadistic biddy who treats him worse than her dog. Instead of quitting, he comes up with a convoluted scheme to kidnap the pooch, and then himself. He and his partner (Dave Chappelle) enlist the aid of an undertaker played by Danny DeVito, who, beneath a Musketeer beard and comb-over fright wig, looks and sounds exactly like Danny DeVito. There are poo-poo jokes, dental-plate jokes, moldy-corpse jokes, Jack Lord jokes, and old-lady-getting-dragged-down-the-stairs jokes. With any other filmmakers, I would have called this cynicism. In the case of Alexander and Karaszewski, it’s more like masochism: They appear to be locking themselves in the screenwriters’ doghouse and reveling in their worst notions of what they think Hollywood wants. Good Scott! Good Larry! Now, please, go back to doing what you do so well. F

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