The Chumscrubber Review

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When Dean Stiffle (Bell) finds the hanged body of his best friend Troy, he chooses not to tell anyone in his neighbourhood because they just won’t care. But the drug dealers at his school care, since Troy was their main supplier, and clumsily try to black


It’s a wonder anyone chooses to live in the identikit American suburbs, given the number of films depicting them as seething pools of resentment simmering under a crust of propriety. Yet director Arie Posin seems unaware of the Donnie Darkos, Edward Scissorhandses and American Beauties out there, so convinced is he of his own movie’s cleverness and originality.

He can boast of an extraordinarily talented cast, but barely a single interesting thing for any of them to do. Each actor is
a stereotype of suppressed middle-class Middle America. Glenn Close is a bereaved mother determined not to crack her usual cheerfulness; Allison Janney’s a housewife desperate to break her cycle of pot roasts; and Ralph Fiennes is a loopy mayor re-embracing life through swimming pools, so simpering you wish he’d just hold himself under until the bubbles stop. When you can’t find a single memorable scene for this lot, you need to be considering another job.

This does have moments of intelligence, even insight, but they’re smothered by sledgehammer symbolism and shameless pilfering from far superior predecessors — like Donnie Darko, the hero is pestered by a weird figure from beyond the grave. A lack of original voice is forgiveable, but misplaced pride in muddying up the ground covered by countless others is just rude.

A tragic waste of acting talent, with nothing new to say. Can we please now politely close the door on middle-class repression before we get really angry?