STUDIO: MTI Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 90 Minutes
- Director Commentary
- Behind The Scenes Featurette
A rude, misanthropic Chicago art critic becomes embroiled in controversy and faces comeuppance while staying at his small town vacation home.
Starring Bronson Pinchot, John Lepard, and Toni Trucks. Written and directed by Richard Brauer.
It’s October, 2009. You’re perusing The Onion A.V. Club when you notice that they’ve posted an interview with Bronson Pinchot. Curious, you take a look. It’s a minor revelation. The dude is smart, funny, and refreshingly forthright about his life and career. And you start to think, maybe ol’ Bronson hasn’t gotten a fair shake in Hollywood. He seems like a cool guy and he’s done some good work – he was funny in that cameo in Beverly Hills Cop, and you vaguely remember him doing a good job as the sleazy businessman in that Stephen King adaptation about the bad CGI burn ward Pac-Men, which you haven’t seen since you were in middle school. Maybe all these years he’s just been suffocating under the weight of Balki Bartokomous and deserves a second chance, a career resurgence, an opportunity to show the world the full range of his talent…
…Just then, there’s a deafening crash, like the sound of thunder in the room with you, and a sudden blinding flash of light. The smoke clears and you become aware of a towering figure looming over you – it’s the ghost of Christmas Future from A Muppet Christmas Carol! Cowering in shock and fear, your gaze slowly drifts down to his outstretched, claw-like, skeletal hand. What is that he’s clutching? Your curiosity piqued, you cautiously approach the ghost’s cloaked form. It appears to be a DVD. “How odd,” you think. You look closer and see that it is a Bronson Pinchot movie called Mr. Art Critic. A mere coincidence, or are there greater forces at work here than a puny mortal such as yourself can comprehend? Unsure of what else to do, you slowly reach out to retrieve the DVD from the bony palm of your ghostly visitor. The moment your fingers come in contact with the DVD case you feel a strange electric tingling and pass out.
When you regain consciousness you find yourself in a vast, empty space, impenetrably black and cold. The only things you can see around you are a large television screen and the Ghost of Christmas Future, still standing silently beside you. The screen turns on and a film begins to play. It’s Mr Art Critic! Left with no other option, you settle in to watch it. Things start promisingly enough; sure, it has cheap DTV production values, but that’s forgivable. It’s obviously an indie film. And it seems to be a comedy, so fancy visuals aren’t really necessary. But as the movie continues on for a few minutes, a sense of dread begins creeping over you. During a series of “comedic” vignettes that never escalate in an interesting way or reach any kind of sharp punchline but seem to go on forever, the dread increases and gives way to frustration. By the third protracted musical montage showing a character traveling between locations, clearly inserted to pad out the running time, you snap and begin to shout your mounting frustration at the empty void and your unwavering, seemingly indifferent ghost companion.
DURRRRRR, IT’S FUNNY CAUSE BOOBS!!!
“This is like a wannabe Curb Your Enthusiasm without real jokes or acting talent!” you scream. “Bronson Pinchot is the only person in this movie who doesn’t come off like a community theater actor or untrained local, and even he is boring! I know he’s probably just trying to distance himself from the over the top zany character he played on Perfect Strangers, but there’s a difference between subtly underplaying a part and sleepwalking through it! And he’s the MOST charismatic actor here! When he’s not onscreen the movie absolutely dies!” Still, the Ghost of Christmas Future stands unmoved and unresponsive. Your anger merely increases.
“Why would this pretentious, cosmopolitan jerk of a main character ever have a vacation home in a quaint, folksy small town, anyway? It’s full of people, places, and things that would just annoy him! It makes no sense from a character perspective and is obviously an empty excuse for staging comedic, fish out of water situations where he can clash with people!”
I’m checking the casting calls on Craigslist to see if I can jump ship for a better movie, but they all say “No Bronson Pinchots”
The movie continues, and as the climax approaches, the character’s gruff exterior begins to chip away and he veers towards learning valuable lessons about art and human kindness. It’s been bad enough so far, but this pushes you past the brink of sanity. You turn to the Ghost, grasping his cloak, shouting and pleading for mercy, for some respite from the torture.
“OH GOD NO! THE GOOD THING ABOUT COMEDIES LIKE CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM IS THAT THEY AVOID THESE KIND OF UNREALISTIC CLICHES AND NEVER DESCEND INTO SAPPY BULLSHIT WITH CHARACTERS MIRACULOUSLY LEARNING LESSONS AND REDEEMING THEMSELVES! PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP! I’VE LEARNED MY LESSON! I’M SORRY FOR EVER THINKING BRONSON PINCHOT DESERVED A SECOND CHANCE! PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MAKE IT STOOOOOOOOOP!”
Easy there movie, haven’t you heard what they say about people in glass houses?
You wake up, screaming, drenched in cold sweat. It takes a moment for you to calm down and get your bearings, but you realize you’re safe at home in your bed, it’s 2010, and there are no muppet ghosts or terribly boring Bronson Pinchot movies anywhere to be seen. It was all a dream! (Editor’s note: this is the first in a series of reviews conceived and executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan). You never actually had to sit through that awful movie. Thank god! The next day at work you’re browsing the AV Club and come across an old interview with Bronson Pinchot. A chill runs down your spine, but you feel compelled to read it. Having learned your lesson from your terrible nightmare, this time you merely chuckle, realizing that the only reason he’s so forthright in the interview is that he already has no career, and thus nothing to lose. Relieved, you stand up in your cubicle and shout “God bless us, everyone!” much to the confusion of your co-workers, then you sit back down and go back to forgetting that Bronson Pinchot even exists.
The screener copy I have only includes the trailer, so I can’t speak to the quality of the other two features included on the retail version. I might like to hear the director’s commentary out of morbid curiosity.