Kevin Smith -- from Clerks and Chasing Amy through Zach and Miri Make a Porno and Red State -- it pains me greatly to declare his newest film, TUSK, the worst movie I've seen all year, maybe several. How could this happen? Has Smith's sense of humor, crazy and transgressive as it is, utterly deserted him? Was it this venture into the world of crappy special effects-laden schlock that did him in? Or the use of a very hoary story, so thick with cliché (that he never manages to upend)? Or, worst of all, is it due to a certain very famous actor playing a character called Guy LaPointe (ostensibly playing himself and credited as such), who is so dreadfully unfunny as to stop the proceedings dead in their tracks (and then leave them there)? Tusk is, above all, the What-were-they-thinking? movie of the new century. This film is so bad that it will have you wishing the upcoming apocalypse would occur immediately, just to put you out of your misery.
Justin Long, who specializes in the crass and crappy. Mr. Long, below, is an actor I have always enjoyed, and this is literally the first time I've seen him give a bad performance. He's rude, crude, ugly -- and loud as hell. Granted, he's playing a not very likable fellow, and considering what is going to happen to him in the course of the movie, we wouldn't want to find ourselves identifying with him much. Even considering all this, Mr. Long gives an utterly two-note performance: first playing asshole, then playing victim.
Hayley Joel Osment (below, left), playing his friend and business partner, he has absolutely none with his would-be paramour, played by Genesis Rodriguez (below, right, and at bottom).
Michael Parks (below), another actor I always enjoy. Except here, where he brings the art of blathering to new depths. (When you find yourself several steps ahead of the story and cast in terms of plot and performance, things can really grow boring.)
Peter Sellers might have played. Sorry, but no dice.)
A24) embarrasses everything and everyone it touches. The horror/fantasy genre would appear to be one in which Mr. Smith ought not to dabble. But if you crave a view of what utter failure looks like, you can see it tomorrow, Friday, September 19, at half a dozen theaters in New York City, and a bunch more in the Los Angeles area. And probably elsewhere, too.