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The Chumscrubber (2005)



Average Rating: 4.9/10
Reviews Counted: 60
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 39

This derivative poke at suburbia falls short of delivering a scathing indictment of upper middle-class disconnect.


Average Rating: 4.8/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 6

This derivative poke at suburbia falls short of delivering a scathing indictment of upper middle-class disconnect.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 39,428

My Rating

Movie Info

The death of a troubled teen throws a suburban neighborhood into chaos in this darkly satirical comedy. Dean (Jamie Bell) is a disaffected teenager living in a California suburb that's beautiful on the surface but populated by families who live emotionally vacant lives, with the parents often too wrapped up in their own problems to pay attention to their children. One day, Dean discovers his best (and only) friend, Troy (Josh Janowicz), has killed himself. While Troy's mother (Glenn Close)


Drama, Comedy

Zac Stanford

Jan 10, 2006

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All Critics (64) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (39) | DVD (13)

Much like its characters: decorative, entertaining and emotionally empty.

June 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An impassioned and occasionally mesmerizing first effort that's at once messier, more complex and more ambitious than many recent suburban dystopias.

November 10, 2005 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Comment (1)
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The story of the film: Studio money chasing after the cult-film audience and getting all the superficial elements right while missing the spirit entirely. It's the cinematic equivalent of Candlebox.

September 26, 2005 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An appallingly clumsy and stupid take on drugs, kidnapping and suicide in suburbia.

September 9, 2005
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are some very good performances and some strong writing.

August 8, 2005 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's neither funny nor sad, and it's filled with cheats, phony come-ons and red herrings.

August 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Comments (2)
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Whether the good performances, or sheer twisted attitude it presents to the same old formula, I enjoyed it, and the story.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

It's a surreal, offbeat comedy where the kidnappers are hopelessly inept while Bell feels hopelessly at sea.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Despite the top-drawer cast assembled for his debut feature, the director Arie Posin's account of emotional dislocation in the 'burbs is stymied by a fatally uneven tone and a growing suspicion that we've been down this road many, many times before.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Independent

A strong cast promises great things, but The Chumscrubber loses itself on the way to its indie aspirations.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

Sadly, despite Bell's eye-catching performance and Glenn Close's disturbing Stepford Wife portrayal, I found this messy movie as self-absorbed as most of its characters.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Sun Online
Sun Online

Ten years ago, The Chumscrubber might have seemed groundbreaking. Today, it's not just unoriginal but as dull and nondescript as a Barratt home.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

It is witty and subversive, with flashes of magical realism and apocalyptic CG that both provokes and unnerves.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

A tragic waste of acting talent, with nothing new to say. Can we please now politely close the door on middle-class repression before we get really angry?

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Even though it feels derivative, this blackly comical suburban drama is loaded with terrific details. And it features yet another excellent performance from Jamie Bell.

June 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

Posin aims for are out of his reach and he's left to scrabble desperately for a story to plug in the gaps.

May 26, 2007 Full Review Source:

Such is the sordid state of affairs in that emerging genre that might be termed suburban noir, as it inches ever closer to horror and the supernatural.

April 19, 2007 Full Review
Long Island Press

An agonizingly bad movie.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

The complex screenplay is admirable for its plot structure, its dark humour and its storytelling tricks, but the film ends up playing like a well developed project about teen-parent alienation, while itself alienating many of us in the audience.

June 5, 2006 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Almost = Magnolia Pieces of April. Nice script, tight direction; but riddled with a disturbing-tension, &cynical outlook more apt to unsettle than entertain.

March 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Hollywood Report Card
Hollywood Report Card

Wittier than Not Another Teen Movie, stealthier than Storytelling

January 25, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

The title doesn't offer much of an indication what 'The Chumscrubber' is about; frankly, after 107 minutes of watching it, you may still be wondering.

November 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

as complacent as its Hillside denizens, unfortunately spawning the very mindset it rails against.

November 22, 2005 Full Review Source:

There's something up in Suburbia, if anyone cares to notice...Been there, done that, but, the actors make this a great film

November 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Blunt Review
Blunt Review

Works as a smarter version of those John Hughes movies we all watched as kids because it aims for the center of that surreal, satirical dart board of 'teenage experience.'

November 11, 2005 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for The Chumscrubber

A high school student is blackmailed into recovering a stash of drugs from his dead friend's house by the school bully who kidnaps an innocent boy for leverage. The plot of The Chumscrubber is basically an "indie" version of Alpha Dog, and the whole thing comes across as a patchwork of ideas stolen from American Beauty, Heathers and Donnie Darko. But the biggest problem with it is the fact that not one of the characters is even remotely likeable. They're just a bunch of self absorbed jerks who have zero interest in anyone but themselves and it's impossible to give a crap about any of them. Even Jamie Bell, who is supposed to be the "hero" is just a smug, dour little prick who you just want to slap. There's some kind of message in here about reliance on quickie solutions to life's problems like self help or pill popping, and the scene between Bell and Close at the end does have some of the heart missing from the whole of the rest of the film. But it makes no coherent points on the subject matter and the whole thing is just a derivative, unfunny and slightly tedious shambles that pales in comparison to ALL of the films it rips off.
September 22, 2011
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

In suburbia, a teen who recently discovered the dead body of his best friend must recover the dead kid's drugs before his classmates kill a kidnapped boy.
I was reminded of Alpha Dog when the victim of a drug-related kidnapping rather enjoys the experience compared to the stifled restrictions of suburbia, but there is more going on here, and nothing about the drug-dealing lifestyle is glorified. The film's message, condemning the self-absorbed nature of the suburban parents and seeing the kids growing up too fast, encountering issues way beyond their age group, is entirely clear. However, the film's tone is uneven. Often I thought that there were two conflicting styles at play: the parents were in a scathing satire, with Mrs. Johnson's repeated "I in no way blame you for Troy's death" and Michael's vacant-eyed dalliances, and the kids were in a teen drama in the vein of Havoc. This juxtaposition works sometimes, but most of the time I was left wondering if these styles would ever converge; they do eventually, but it's too late and too little.
Overall, I'm sympathetic to the film's argument, and I think much of it is well-done, but there
June 22, 2011
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Along the style of a Donnie Darko.... I enjoyed this movie just because it is different than the regurgitated Adam Sadler crap that is always out there! Jamie Bell is a fine actor. Ralph Fiennes could have just stayed home, his character in no way added anything to the movie for me.
December 22, 2010

Super Reviewer

While I appreciated the overall purpose/message of the story, I felt the movie was put together rather poorly. The characters were over-worked and hard to like, the plot was holey, and the cinematography was less than fabulous. In other words, this is one of those movies that could've been great but ended up rather mediocre.
October 25, 2010

Super Reviewer

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