My Bodyguard Reviews
My Bodyguard isn't a technically well made film by any stretch. It's a movie that doesn't really know what it is. A lot of the time, it feels like a family movie, with patented dialogue for the kids. Then the next minute, there's all this sexual innuendo and violence. The tones of the film are a little off. Still, this is a film I basically enjoyed. It's not a great achievement on any level, but a nice little drama film with some characters you really grow to care for.
This is another bully movie. Clifford moves into a new school where he is instantly made another victim of the school bully, Moody and his team of goons. Clifford doesn't want to be like all the other kids who pay Moody each day to not get harassed. So he tries to buy protection from a huge kid name Linderman, who has a bunch of legends surrounding his name. He went in a rampage. He rapes teachers. Not even Moody wants to take Lindrrman on. Through hiring him as a bodyguard, the two become good friends. Basically their friendship is what makes the movie. I know it's all a little cliché and all, but when its done right and we actually care about the two of them; it works.
Nothing too special going on here. There's a decent cast, with early roles from Adam Baldwin, Matt Dillon, and Joan Cusack. Chris Makepeace also makes for a decent teenager. He plays the role like a real person. He's every normal teenager you will ever meet. He doesn't play to a certain clique like most movies make all of their characters out to be. In real life, people don't work that way.
It's worth a look if you like movies of this ilk. Other whys I'd suggest skipping it. Tony Bill doesn't do the audience any favors with his direction and the whole movie ends up resting on the relationship between Clifford and Linderman. Luckily the actors were able to pull off their performances with surprising authenticity.
My Bodyguard is about a high school student, oddly named Clifford Peache (Chris Makepeace), who is encountering trouble at school. After unwisely insulting a school bully nicknamed "Moody," (played wonderfully by Matt Dillon) he becomes a target. They want him to give them their lunch money, for protection. From who? "From themselves, of course, but that's not what they say.." no, indeed. They tell him they're trying to protect him from a big, tough kid named Ricky Linderman (played by Adam Baldwin in his film debut).
Clifford is somewhat small, he doesn't know how to fight, and he's not very intimidating, thus, he can't really defend himself. So, what he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in intelligence and cleverness. He decides that he wants to pay Ricky Linderman "to be my bodyguard." This is where the movie really begins, and makes an excellent turn.
Linderman is somewhat of an outcast and a loner at school, presumably because of his size, and some unkind rumors milling about the school. He has a reputation for being a psychopathic menace, but as it turns out, he's just a normal kid who experienced a tragic event. Clifford decides to get back at Moody with Linderman watching his back. Linderman is at first a little hesitant to accept Clifford's attempt at creating their friendship. Then, one day after Clifford is caught following his "bodyguard" home, their wonderful, unlikely friendship begins. The bonding sequence between these two unlikely companions is really satisfying to watch.
Not only does Linderman help Cliff, Cliff helps Linderman. Linderman begins to open up, alleviate his shyness, and relate better to people. He begins to understand that there are friends out there, and we all need support. This character transition that Baldwin makes is extremely well-acted and very convincing.
Clifford, we later learn, isn't the only one with tricks up his sleeve. Some scenes later in the movie, like Linderman getting pushed around by another tough kid, are a little difficult and painful to watch. The scenes about Cliff's grandmother (played by the wonderfully funny Ruth Gordon) and Martin Mull as his father trying to keep her under control in the bar of the hotel he manages, don't really go with the other scenes, and are almost like a film-within-a-film. That's easily forgiven and forgotten, though, because of the brilliance of the other parts, especially a great fight scene where everything comes together at the end. I haven't seen too many movies where I've liked the ending as much as this one.
The most gratifying thing about this movie, is perhaps the lessons that can be learned. I loved the scene where Clifford discusses the rumors about Linderman with one of the teachers, who more or less implies that we should judge people and form our own opinions instead of listening to rumors and gossip. Clifford is wise enough not to listen to the rumors. It's nice to know that people can be friends, despite differences in their backgrounds, economic status, or social circles. It reminded me of a line from On Golden Pond spoken by Katherine Hepburn: "Sometimes you have to look hard at a person, and realize they're doing the best they can." My Bodyguard does exactly that.
This is a very suitable film as well as great learning material for any teenager, teacher, or parent. The film is perfectly cast and the performances by the teenagers as well as the adults are fantastic. I liked the performance of Adam Baldwin the best, he starts out looking a little sloppy, scruffy, and primitive, but later goes through a transformation to a well-mannered, polite, affable, approachable young man. He is very convincing playing a kid who is tough, scared, sad, and angry at the same time. To make a treasure and a classic movie like this about teenagers and high school was some kind of miracle, and wonderful.