Providence's Alternative Source!


When kids'-show host Rainbow Randolph (Robin Williams) gets caught in a payola scandal, network executives replace his shady face with the fresh one of Sheldon Mopes as Smoochy the Rhino (Ed Norton). Skin-stretching full-faced smiles, do-gooder messages, and bouncy happy kids all around prompt the ousted Rainbow to set his sights on offing his replacement, who has also won the heart of the former star's ex, icy network exec Nora (Catherine Keener).

The film follows -- and follows -- plot after plot to squash the naive, good-hearted, goody-two-shoes Sheldon. Through it all director Danny DeVito -- who also plays Smoochy's crooked agent -- threads mob ties, noir shadowing, and slapstick trips that give the film a disjointed blend of dark Jessica Rabbit and lite Barney. Not even the stellar cast (which also includes Jon Stewart in a flop of a performance as a mop-topped corrupt network exec) can save this supposedly funny look into the black underbelly of kiddie shows. An hour in, you'll be pleading: someone, please, finish off Smoochy already. At the Apple Valley, Entertainment, Flagship, Holiday, Showcase, and Tri-Boro cinemas.

By Nina Willdorf

Issue Date: April 5 - 11, 2002