The Chumscrubber (2005)
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Critic Reviews for The Chumscrubber
Much like its characters: decorative, entertaining and emotionally empty.
An impassioned and occasionally mesmerizing first effort that's at once messier, more complex and more ambitious than many recent suburban dystopias.
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.
An appallingly clumsy and stupid take on drugs, kidnapping and suicide in suburbia.
There are some very good performances and some strong writing.
It's neither funny nor sad, and it's filled with cheats, phony come-ons and red herrings.
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.
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
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.
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