There is less going on in Kuffs than you might think. My original name for it was Iago 2000, but Shakespeare’s people wanted too much for the licensing. My next choice was The Adventures of Shithead, but I had a friend named Shithead and I thought people gave him a hard enough time as it was. So I chose Kuffs because…well, sometimes you just give up.

Actually, no part of this film came out the way I’d planned. Initially it was a drama starring River Phoenix. But then he died and the studio gave me Christan Slater instead. The guy swaggered in and it took me over half an hour to realize he wasn’t doing a bad Jack Nicholson impression. I knew there was no chance he could have carried Kuffs as written. With him, the only way I could save the movie from being laughed at was to turn it into a comedy.


One of the ways I tried to do that was to have Kuffs break the fourth wall. Now, for a while there, some of us went crazy with this whole smart-ass talking to the camera crap. It took us almost fifteen years to realize the ONLY way to break the fourth wall is with cynical, dry narration. Looking back, the only person who ever really pulled off the former was Shakespeare. But even HE would have utilized voice-overs if the Globe’s PA system weren’t so notoriously unreliable.

I don’t like to admit failure, but we drove this device into the ground. Not only does Kuffs explain every aspect of the plot this way, but he also gives lots of winks and nods while the actual plot is taking place. So if someone is yelling at him, Kuffs looks at us as if to say, “Man this guy needs to relax,” to which we respond, “Yeah, Kuffs! He outta switch to decaf!” Or if he’s being shot at, he might raise his eyebrows a little, “Guess I’m in kinduva tight spot.” The audience is like, “C’mon Kuffs! We know you’ll think of something!” The problem is that Kuffs is kind of an asshole. He never once says to the audience, “Thanks for all the support, you guys.” This kind of attitude is probably why you’re completely unfamiliar with the movie I’m talking about. It’s called Kuffs. Go buy it on DVD. I’ll wait.

The plot is pretty strait-forward. Kuffs is an irresponsible fuckup. He gets his lady pregnant and decides to make a mad-dash to Brazil, a well known haven for deadbeat assholes with constantly damp hair. On his way, he stops by his responsible brother’s pad to borrow some money, but his brother gets shot before he can sign the check. Kuffs gets pissed that he can’t go to Brazil and vows revenge. On the way, he slowly learns how to grow up and take responsibility. Lots of people get killed, a couple things explode, and a million wisecracks are shot into the silent depths of space. Kuffs!

Before the brother dies, he heads up a kind of armed neighborhood watch outfit. People in the immediate area pay him and his crew to watch their shit and shoot their bad guys when the real cops are too busy, which is always. So what we’re dealing with here are security guards doing battle with slightly more dangerous version of the guys from Bottle Rocket. I mean, they can’t be world class criminals if their beef is with a glorified Boy Scout Brigade. The main bad guy, for instance, commits crimes while wearing a t-shirt with his own face screen-printed on it, an act of maximum earnestness if I ever wrote one. (Kuffs makes fun of the guy’s clothes because a cool-dressed person making fun of a nerd-dressed person is always good for an early-nineties chuckle). Nevertheless, once guns–the great equalizer of humanity–get involved, all these crime and cop nerds who used to play Actor #3 suddenly gets to try their hand at being Hamlet, metaphorically speaking.

You’ll have to forgive me if this memory feels a little pretentious. It’s just that, I’m hoping the more I mention Shakespeare, the less possible it seems that I could have ever made such a cocky turd of a movie.

So anyway, when his brother dies, Kuffs takes over the business. He’s not actually interested in helping anyone; he just wants to use the fake-cop resources to hunt down the bastard who wears his own face on his shirt. When Kuffs gets called to talk down a potential suicide, he gets drive-thru on the way, which takes longer than it should because they fuck up his order and he has to go back. Twice. He then goes home to eat and decides to take a shower because he got some grease on his hands. Eventually he shows up just in time to call the jumper an asshole. “Hey! Shit or get off the pot, pal!” Guess what the jumper does. Jumps. Guess what he does right before that. Shoots Kuffs in the tummy. Guess how much that bothers Kuffs. Not one tiny freaking bit. He just looks down, touches his gut, shows us the blood on his hand, and says, “Looks like I got shot in the line of duty. (sigh) (shrug) Whelp! (pant-slap) Nobody said this was gonna be easy!”

Stuff like that happens over and over again until the credits roll. The movie ends with Kuffs getting revenge, then his water breaks and he has the first ass-born baby. Shocked but not unhappy, he smirks at the camera and says…

Fuck it. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. The whole thing hurts me.

Actually, there is one more bit I need to bring up before I go vomit. I am somewhat proud to say, we saved a little money on Kuffs because I composed the score myself. It was pretty easy, though. All I did was take the theme song from Beverly Hills Cop and digitally change every third note. Worked like a charm. Because of that, I got to join another union, so now I’m TRIPLE insured. There’s always a bright side.

Other than that, what can I say except I’m sorry? Nobody’s perfect. Thanks to Kuffs I’m 99.9 when I used to be 100. If Kuffs were a person, I’d alternately drown it and bring it back to life twenty times a day. Thirty on a weekend.

(three stars)