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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Teens > Comedy > The Chumscrubber

The Chumscrubber


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Film: C+



In yet another visit to that horrible place to live called the suburbs, especially if they are in Los Angeles, Arle Posin’s The Chumscrubber (2005) offers Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, the latest King Kong) in the same loner/drug user/drug dealer role Brad Renfro has done far too often.  Bell is very good here nonetheless whose plastic, drugged-up life (and those around him) is shaken when his one best friend turns up dead.


This sets a kidnapping in motion as his buddy seems to have something very valuable (for which he cannot figure out the what) that a few others want.  The same group of idiots also picks on and torments him, though the young lady of the group keeps trying to be “pretend friends” with him.  The problem is that we have seen this kind of thing too much, especially after American Beauty, but the cast also offers Glenn Close, Rita Wilson, Ralph Finnes in an oddball role, William Fichtner, Lauren Holly, Allison Janney (for that American Beauty feel?), Carrie-Anne Moss, Justin Chadwin and Rory Culkin.  Too bad it does not give them a chance to do more on screen.  The title refers to a videogame character who was beheaded, but still roams the earth carrying the unattached head and battles everyone else.  Metaphor is intended, but like much of this film, does not work.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image was shot by cinematographer Lawrence Sher, which has the usual muted colors too typical of one of these “suburb-as-bad” (or is that hell?) pictures.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a bit better than the 2.0 mix, but not by much and this is dialogue based for the most part.  James Horner’s score is subtle and helps the film be less familiar than its narrative is, but can only help so much.  Extras include previews for other DreamWorks DVDs, a making of featurette, deleted/extended scenes that would not have helped if they stayed in and an audio commentary by writer Zac Stanford and Posin.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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