Just Shoot Me
There’s bad, and then there’s movies like Fat Albert and Darkness, movies that alternately make you curl up into a fetal position and whimper or throw things at the screen and yell “Dear God in heaven, someone make it stop!” But they don’t stop: they go on and on and on in their clueless awfulness, days and days and days of your life sucked away while tiny evil incorporeal mice chew away on your soul the whole time, and then it turns out the damn movie was only 80 minutes long and only banging your head against a rock until you’re insensate can make the pain go away.
I seem to remember the Fat Albert cartoons of my childhood being fairly sweet and fun, but this bizarre big-
Yes, Purple Rose of Cairo style, 1970s-
But that’s pretty much the standard kind of crap we’ve come to expect from bad comedies these days. That and how there’s no story here, just a demented lurching from one unhumorous attempt at humor to another. Fat Albert launches itself into the stratosphere of idiocy when it ends up making itself entirely moot. See, Fat Albert (Kenan Thompson: Barbershop 2: Back in Business, The Master of Disguise) is summoned from TVLand by the tears of Doris (Kyla Pratt), when she sobs into the remote control while she’s watching TV, and he is able to abandon the cartoon realm to help her with her friendlessness problem because there’s a doodly-
Never mind how phonily staged this “special” relationship is, how ickily false it feels — neither actor has any capacity to convey a human connection; Thompson’s performance extends to weird empty stares meant to be beatific, I think. It turns out, at the very very end — yes, I’m going to reveal the secret surprise ending *shhh* — that, in this grotesquely meta flick, it is possible for Doris’s grandfather, who recently died, to whom she was very close, to have been Bill Cosby’s inspiration for the cartoon character of Fat Albert. And this fact is actually very clearly referenced on the grandfather’s tombstone. The movie acts as if she doesn’t know this vital bit of info — as if she’d never read her beloved grandfather’s grave marker — and proceeds to treat the discover of it as of momentous psychological import, when it actually makes the entire movie pointless. Which it already was anyway.
At least someone involved had the wit and foresight to make sure that Doris’s sister, with whom Albert falls madly in love, is really her foster sister, cuz otherwise… ewww.
Fat Albert seems to have a reason to exist, if only the mercenary one of selling DVDs. The same cannot be said for Darkness, the point of which I challenge anyone involved to explain. It’s another of those “evil house” horror flicks, but the evil is so nebulous and ineffective that it might as well be on a permanent lunch break, and the house appears to be little more than one long hallway for the director to push his camera down in manner he thinks is terrifying or ominous, and isn’t. In fact, the only scary thing about Darkness is how shockingly inept director Jaume Balagueró is.
For reasons known only to equally incompetent screenwriters Fernando de Felipe and Miguel Tejada-
All we know is that teenager Regina (a slumming Anna Paquin: X2: X-Men United, 25th Hour) feels that something is wrong with the new house her family just moved into, even if mom Maria (Lena Olin: Queen of the Damned, Chocolat) and dad Mark (Iain Glen: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) don’t see it. Astonishingly negligent parents, they dismisses the strangulation-
Regina’s investigation into the “mystery” of the house introduces her to cardboard people who say things like “You shouldn’t have come,” or mutter random mumbo-