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"Hello. It's Danny. It's been, um... I guess now a few months since the release of Death To Smoochy, so the mourning period is over."—Director Danny DeVito, opening the DVD Commentary.
Death To Smoochy is a 2002 dark comedy film starring Robin Williams, Edward Norton and Catherine Keener. It also features Jon Stewart and Danny DeVito, who is also the film's director. Death To Smoochy is known for its outwardly vulgar and profane humor, particularly Williams' profound cursing outbursts throughout the film.
Williams plays Rainbow Randolph (aka Randolph Smiley), a children's television show host. On-screen, he is a lovable, friendly character, but in his personal life he is almost an antithesis incarnate of himself -- rude, irascible, and with a propensity for violence. Unfortunately for Randolph, his show is canceled after he is caught by the FBI taking bribes from parents to put their kids on his show and he is replaced by another show featuring a purple anthropomorphic rhino named Smoochy (a clear parody of Barney the Dinosaur), played by Norton.
Randolph spirals into depression and poverty, and vows to bring down Smoochy and his show. Throughout the film, Randolph concocts a variety of sadistic and psychotic plots to ruin Smoochy's career, and becomes involved with a gangster named Merv Green (Harvey Fierstein), but his ploys are constantly foiled by the fact that Smoochy really is as sweet and nice as the character he portrays.
The film was a commercial and critical bomb, but like most comedies that fall under that category, it has developed a cult following.
This Movie Contains Examples Of:
- Atomic F-Bomb: Randolph's "Motherfucker!" after discovering Sheldon and Nora going out, also counts as Skyward Scream.
- Actor Allusion: Randolph attempts to discredit Sheldon by tricking him into performing at a neo-Nazi rally.
- All Men Are Perverts: We think Nora Wells seems to think about males that way, just until Smoochy blows off steam.
- Berserk Button: Anything related to Smoochy ends up as this for Randolph, including a fundraiser to "Save the Rhinos".
- Beware the Honest Ones
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Smoochy's songs. They are all bouncy, upbeat tunes, exactly what you would expect on a children's show. Even the ones he is singing to junkies at a shelter. Do not listen to the words, though.
- Cluster Penis Bomb: The cookie scene. Bonus points for Williams' rant being delivered in front of kids, who crack up hysterically.
- Concert Climax
- Contractual Purity: Not in the movie itself, but in-universe; the plot is kicked off when Randolph loses his job by getting caught taking a bribe to get a rich couple's kid participating in the episode. While it's possible that there was some kind of contractual reason he couldn't do that, the only apparent reason for losing the show is that taking a bribe makes him a bad role model.
- Smoochy's purity is most likely contractual, seeing as how the producer ordered Nora to find someone "squeaky fucking clean."
- Depraved Bisexual: Randolph, maybe (see Foe Yay, below).
- Depraved Kids' Show Host: The movie breathes this trope.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In-universe example. During Rainbow's opening song -- "Some like to toss, while others to catch" and "One might say grab while the other says snatch."
- "Golly gee, size doesn't matter when you want some friendly patter."
- Heel Face Turn: Rainbow Randolph. He's still crazy, though.
- The Irish Mob: Played for laughs.
- Large Ham: Robin Williams, natch.
- Nice Character, Mean Actor: Rainbow Randolph.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Played with. Of the dozens of entertainers mentioned as characters in the movie, none of them are real. However, at one point, Randolph refers to Smoochy as a "bastard son of Barney." Also, there are a few implications that Randolph is an Expy for Pee-Wee Herman.
- Non-Indicative Name:
- Sheldon Mopes, despite all that happens to him, does anything but.
- And yet, "Burke" Bennett is pretty much exactly dead-on.
- Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: The basis of "My Stepdad's Not Mean, He's Just Adjusting." However, he tells the kids at the end that if he's ever outright abusive the magic number is 911.
- Not My Driver: How Randolph got Mopes.
- Old Shame: Jon Stewart brings this up a lot, almost to the point where you might make the mistake that he's actually proud of the movie but is afraid that liking it will make him not cool.
- Preemptive Declaration:
Sheldon: Oh, you didn't have to get off the phone.
Nora: If I didn't, you'd still be here.
Sheldon: I am still here.
Nora: I'm hoping to correct that
- Serious Business:
- Apparently, kiddie TV shows are full of groupies, graft and corruption in every sense of the word and one honest entertainer can be a massive Spanner in the Works.
- And God help you if you try to mess with the mob's control of the ice show racket.
- Skyward Scream: The Atomic F-Bomb mentioned above and another one before that: "God! What does this all mean?"
- Straw Feminist: Nora Wells, the executive producer for Smoochy the Rhino.
- Subverted Kids Show
- Watch Out for That Tree: Rainbow Randolph's victory dance after framing Smoochy as a Nazi is cut short by a wall.