”No, no…I really liked it.”
“That’s good to hear, since all the critics have said that is awful.”
“Naw, it’s good. Well, good in that sick and depraved sort of way. If you’re into that sort of thing, which, clearly I am.”
Death to Smoochy is a 2002 film directed by Danny DeVito and written by Adam Resnick. Resnick's past work includes the screenplay for Cabin Boy and working as a writer on the FOX series Get a Life.
When Rainbow Randolph gets busted by the feds for accepting a bribe, his network fires him, kicks him out of his posh corporate apartment, and is dead set on finding a squeaky clean replacement to fill the time slot.
The network’s savior comes in the form of Sheldon Mopes and his one-horned alter ego Smoochy, whose latest gig has been singing songs at a Coney Island methadone clinic. Mopes is a tofu dog-loving, processed sugar-hating all-around nice guy. He was so deeply touched by the beloved TV show of his youth, Rickets the Hippo, he chose kiddy entertainment as his career path.
His show, Smoochy’s Magic Jungle, is a huge success, much to the chagrin of Rainbow Randolph. Randolph’s attempts to thwart Smoochy’s success include a cookie switch (“It’s…a…SPACESHIP!”) and nearly committing suicide through self-immolation.
Also throwing a wrench in Smoochy’s career is the pressure from his agent to do an ice show sponsored by the shady charity Parade of Hope and being hunted down by the former child-star turned drug addict played by Vincent Schiavelli.
And perhaps most troublesome of all, the fact the network wants Smoochy to peddle sugar-coated cereal.
Good thing Smoochy is in good with the Irish mob.
DeVito’s movies (think War of the Roses or Throw Momma from the Train) don’t tend to be bright or cheery, and Death to Smoochy is no exception. After seeing it, I have trouble understanding why critics have given it such poor reviews. Ebert only gave it half a star in his review. Still, there is a certain amount of relief to seeing Williams playing the bad guy for once.
And besides, there should be more movies that involve singing and dancing midgets.
Henry Rollins auditioned for the part of Spinner Dunn, a former boxer who evokes thoughts of what Rocky would be like if he were running a restaurant. Clearly, Rollins was not cast.
The movie’s official site (http://deathtosmoochymovie.warnerbros.com) has lots of fun flash animation. Be sure to check out “Playtime with Smoochy," and keep playing over and over again until it gets really amusing). The site also features music from the movie, including “My Stepdad’s Not Mean (He’s Just Adjusting).”
cast listing from http://www.imdb.com