The Movie Hero (2003) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
28May/100

The Movie Hero (2003)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

Danny LIKE"What if this is the movie that holds the meaning to the universe?" Blake asks, pointing at the movie screen. "That's why you have to see every one."

Blake knows what's he talking about. After all, he is the star of the movie. And he knows it.

As played by Jeremy Sisto, Blake is a lovable loser. The movie begins with his being dumped by his girlfriend for dragging her to another movie. He walks out onto the street and apologizes to the audience for not being very compelling, and immediately points us to a suspicious guy for us to follow... because he's awfully suspicious. If you haven't noticed yet, this is an extremely meta movie. Blake spends most of the movie talking to us, pointing out what's happening and what should be happening. When he worries his life gets boring, he stands out on the side of the street wearing a sandwich board saying "Wanted: Sidekick." When he meets the woman of his dreams, he deems her The Love Interest. When he thinks everyone is getting sick of the doctor's office set, he goes up to the roof to overlook the city.

Stuff like this is very tricky to pull off well. Put an overbearing actor in there and you'll want to punch them in their face, a shy one and you're left without much of a movie. Jeremy Sisto has goofy charm in spades, and he lends it all to making this part work. The supporting cast helps a lot as well. Peter Stormare chews scenery like no other as The Suspicious Character, and the charming Dina Meyer plays The Love Interest, and, hell, even Carlos Jacott shows up for a bit as The Doomed Fiance. They both give their characters a measure of reality that makes you buy into the conceit.

And there are definitely some clever moments. I liked that he pointed out that his audience moved every once in a while to make it look like he was talking to himself, and, thus, crazy.

Of course, in the universe of the movie, Blake is regarded as crazy, just as we would regard anyone like this in our own world. I did like that his parents were understanding of it, though, but I'm not exactly sure why the sidekick stuck around as long as he did-- his character is probably the most woefully underdeveloped.

Still, the movie is great fun for a while-- enough for me to recommend it-- as it takes the piss out of itself and points out the cliches as they come along. But as charming as The Movie Hero is for the first sixty minutes, it loses steam as our hero struggles to find out what lesson he's supposed to learn to get to the end.

I'm going to avoid some spoilers, but there's a bump in the road after Blake leaves his audience with The Love Interest for a while and we see her realize that she needs someone who will zip up her dress for her. Maybe it stays serious too long or maybe it's just when Blake returns to the scene he seems unhinged and out of character, but the movie just seems to lose direction, as if to pad everything to the running time.

Especially disappointing is how they take the strange meta concept and turn it into something ridiculously fairy tail-ish. I appreciate what they're trying to do, but flying off the rails into magical realism doesn't feel quite as satisfying as if the movie had stayed in reality.

But I suppose I'm complaining when I don't know how I would have solved things myself. I have this movie about a guy who thinks he's in a movie. But no one else in the movie thinks he's in a movie. But he is in a movie. How do you end that story on an up note?

It's too bad that the answer they give just isn't crazy enough to work.

The Movie Hero (2003)

This movie is currently available on DVD and Netflix Instant.

Trailer | IMDB
Directed by Brad T. Gottfred
Written by Brad T. Gottfred
Starring Jeremy Sisto and Dina Meyer

Posted by Danny

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