Lazy Movie Review: Tusk

tusk

Premise:  Kevin Smith made a movie about a man who turns another man into a walrus.  I’m…  …I’m not sure if I need to add more to this premise…?

 

Pros:

-Pretty high near the surface level of this thing, there’s a genuine weirdness to this whole project that I admired, and I think it may start and end with the patchwork walrus suit.  If there’s one thing that gave me a real genuine laugh, it was the first sighting of that gloriously stupid walrus suit.  In that regard, Tusk gets me.

-Justin Long and Michael Parks are decent in this.  Particularly in the second act, when the transformation begins and the movie starts to go somewhere.

-Haley Joel Osment is always a good novelty to have in a movie as well.

-The Big Lebowski joke was funny.

-The concept of the movie is no doubt fantastic, and the parts that adhere to that goofy concept with unwavering silliness (like the fight at the end) are pretty darn nice.  It’s the rest of the movie that’s the problem.

 

Cons:

-There are movies that are spread thin, then there are movies that are SPREAD THIN, then there are movies that are Tusk.  The depth of this movie doesn’t really go much deeper than the one line joke of a premise (well, it “does”, but you’d be foolish to tread in those waters), and then there’s this horrible shell of a dull movie surrounding it.  They play the audio from the podcast (in the credits) where Kevin Smith and whoever else was there were spitballing the idea for Tusk, and amidst their giggling fervor was 30 seconds of earnestly decent, ridiculous comedy.  That 30 seconds then got expanded to two hours and you can imagine how that went.

-Johnny Depp is in this movie, and he is AWFUL in it.  He hams it up with all the prosthetic make-up, wacky French accents, and in-and-out cross-eyed facial expressions (HA!) of a Disney Channel sitcom villain.  Once he showed up, it dragged an already slow movie to a snail’s pace.  If he doesn’t have a Razzie in his awards closet by next February, I’ll be very surprised.

-Furthermore, the completely unnecessary-to-anything flashback with Depp and Parks on the porch discussing the whereabouts of Gregory Gumtree was hands down THE worst scene I’ve seen in a movie this year.  No!  The last five years…!  I’m not sure how it was possible to bore me that much during what I think was supposed to be a comedy bit, but they succeeded tremendously.  Never before had I wished so badly that I had to pee, so that I could get up and leave the theater for 5 minutes.  Sadly, god was not smiling upon my bladder that day, and I suffered through that hogwash.

-All of the Canada jokes were way too obvious and fell flat.

-The side plot with the girlfriend was dragged out and unnecessary as well.  I *assume* that this was Kevin Smith’s attempt to add some seriousness to his walrus movie (for some reason), and give Justin Long some backstory, but I didn’t see the point.  This wasn’t some movie about a terrible cheating boyfriend getting his comeuppance for being a bad person, it was the story of a random person being turned into a walrus.  Michael Parks would have turned a mailman into a walrus instead had he stumbled in there first.

-So, was this supposed to be a full-on comedy, or what?  That’s a good question that I’m not sure many people could actually answer with a simple yes or no.  It certainly had jokes.  They weren’t that funny.  It also had quieter personal moments.  They didn’t really hit some resonating emotional chord.  It alllllllso had a walrus man.  That it had, no doubt.  Again, to point out the giggling fervor of the podcast bit where they created this movie; I thought this project was supposed to be a joke, right?  Well, they can either make it over-the-top ridiculous comedy, which would have worked fine, or they could have done it with unwavering seriousness, which would have also worked in the same comically straight-faced way that something like Walk Hard was executed.  Instead, it was created with a dull mixture of the two that settled somewhere between uninteresting and kinda chuckle-worthy.  I’d call it a valiant effort, but I feel like Smith could have tried harder to actually make something memorable.

-It seemed like it didn’t know when it wanted to end.

 

Final Thoughts:  This is definitely a movie more for the adventurously curious than the casual movie watcher.  The big payoff of the movie is seeing the walrus man, and they give it to you, and it kind of delivers in how stupid you expected it to be.  Surprisingly, at the time of writing this review, it doesn’t appear as if you can just Google image search the walrus suit, so you have to actually sit through this movie if you want to gaze your eyes upon it.  I don’t know how desperate you are to see a half-man, half-walrus, but my guess is it’s somewhere around “Ehhh, I’d see it for free if you showed it to me right now.  But otherwise, nah, I’m good.”

5.5 out of 10

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