My Name is Bruce (2008)
Reviewed by Nomad
Starring Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Janelle Farber, Ben L. McCain, Ellen Sandweiss
Directed by Bruce Campbell
1986 – The Three Amigos
1999 – Galaxy Quest
2008 – My Name Is Bruce
Every 10 years or so, a phenomenon overtakes Hollywood, injecting a scriptwriter’s mind with thoughts of hapless play acting heroes stepping into shoes not meant for mere mortals. Wackiness ensues, the actors are sent running, but in the end they find the courage to return for the sake of an oppressed people and emerge triumphant. My Name is Bruce is the current incarnation of this re-occurring infection, but while Three Amigos and Galaxy Quest had some moments of hilarity among the ridiculous, Bruce creeps up like a flaming heat rash no ointment can soothe. This phenomenon has turned into a DEATH CUUUURSE!!!
The story unfolds like this: A weekend emo/goth kid unwittingly releases a vengeful Chinese god of destruction ... and bean curd. In seconds, the body parts are flying and emo kid sounds the alarm in town. Here’s where the logic gets wonky. Emo boy convinces the town that their only hope is Bruce Campbell, so he abducts the celeb who thinks this is all an elaborate birthday surprise perpetrated by his agent (Ted Raimi, natch!) Now, the towns-people know he is Bruce Campbell…and not Ash. Emo kid is an uber fan and has most likely been spouting off about his hero for some years now, and in a small town, that means everyone knows everything there is to know. Nevertheless, they believe Bruce is the one to lead them and do their best to cater to his every whim.
What happens next is a series of goofy moments including inappropriate come-ons from Bruce toward the only townie with all her teeth, insulting the hicks, redneck dancing 101 and all the classic slapsticky Bruce faces we know and love. It is clear that Bruce (who I need to mention is also the director) has a great love of the classics, as he incorporates a sound board filled with golden oldies torn from many a loony tunes cartoon. Don’t get me wrong; I love Bugs Bunny as much as anyone else, but whenever these gags are shoved into a live action movie, I want to take an Acme anvil to the head. You are also treated to Ted Raimi, master of disguise, who appears as three different characters (two of which are old school stereotypes which would normally have Ted chased through the city.) Way to set back the movement buddy. As if this were not painful enough, the movie is periodically interrupted by two hillbillies from the film with guitars, crooning about the story in what can only be an homage to Something About Mary. Maybe painful is putting it lightly. The only bright moment in this film comes, inexplicably, from cameos by Dan Hicks (Evil Dead 2) and Timothy Patrick Quill (Army of Darkness), whose love for their own rolls, and each other, is funny is a super geeky horror movie fan sort of way. That is the beginning and the end of the funny, I assure you. It’s also worth mentioning that Ellen Sandweiss (Evil Dead) makes a quick appearance ... and is still hot.
The menace in My Name is Bruce is provided by what we are to believe is a large, glowing Chinese god which comes off as a guy in an ill fitting rubber suit. The only part of him that seemed effective was his hand, which we see before each attack, for the entire length of the film. The kills are quick and cut away…uninventive, un-funny, and badly executed. At the film’s climax, Bruce actually throws himself at the creature, destroying all sense of size or fierceness your easily amused 12 year old brother may have fallen for before this moment. As to be expected, a short, lame, anticlimactic ending follows.
This is a tiresome film that you could use to torment your friends, convincing them that it is the best Bruce movie to date as you then watch them slowly die inside. The ultimate punk. Honestly, the best thing I can say about the movie is it wasn’t quite as bad as Man With The Screaming Brain (review), but it comes pretty damn close. Those seeking out a screening featuring a Bruce Q&A before the film can take away moments of fun, as a Bruce Q&A is almost always 100% honest and in that, hysterical. The film itself, though, is a special kind of torture and you can be sure Bruce will not be waiting to see what you thought of it.
Note: I’ve left out naming the primary actors in this film (sans Ted and Bruce, who should know better by now) in the hopes they can move past this catastrophe and some day have a future in this industry.
1 1/2 out of 5 (Which you will use to off yourself as you watch this)