SUPER 2 1/2 out of 4
In Theaters Now
This comedy was definitely one of the success stories of the Toronto International Film Festival. A similar tale to Kick-Ass (which I really enjoyed), it shows a schmucky, average Joe (Rainn Wilson) who turns himself into a superhero when his wife (Liv Tyler) leaves him for a drug-dealing thug (Kevin Bacon) that uses her as a guinea pig for his heroin. Wilson dons a cape, chooses a weapon (a hefty wrench) and coins a catchphrase that is increasingly funny as the film goes on: "Shut up, crime!"
Comic bookstore geek Ellen Page becomes his VERY enthusiastic sidekick, and the tone veers wildly as Wilson goes from meek to freak, beating up thugs but also mauling a guy for cutting in line at the cinema. (Actually, the guy was meeting a friend, I think, so it doesn't even count as really cutting in the first place.)
The movie is a little unsure of itself tonally because it doesn't quite know what it thinks of its protagonist. But it is weirdly amusing and has cult favorite written all over it for a certain demographic. More negatively, Wilson (quite funny on The Office) just isn't up to the dramatic demands. A scene where he curses God for making him such an unattractive loser should be piercing but just isn't. I'm sure this project was in the works long before Kick-Ass came to life and they must hate being compared unfavorably to it. But sometimes even superheroes can't catch a break.
Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day and features top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It's available free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website and his daily blog. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes. Link to him on Netflix and gain access to thousands of ratings and reviews.