Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Chumscrubber (2005)

"Don't ignore me."

The Chumscrubber is a brilliant portrayal of suburban dysfunction that deserves a place alongside American Beauty, Edward Scissorhands, and The Squid and the Whale. The movie takes place in a picture-perfect community with social-climbing (and subtly back-stabbing) parents who have little time for their children. The movie opens with young loner Dean discovering his childhood best friend hanging from the rafters in his bedroom. Dean gets little support from the adults in his world, and a group of teens quickly latches on to see if Dean can score the drug connections of his deceased friends.

This is a tale told with subtle nuances and situational irony--the mothers pop speed and herbal energizers while turning a blind eye to their childrens' drug and alcohol abuse, the parents permit absolutely anything if "it's for school," and a funeral and over-the-top wedding compete for space and attention on the McMansion block. Kidnapping and bullying take place right under the eyes of a cast of self-absorbed parents played by Ralph Fiennes, Glenn Close, and Allison Janney. The dialog, imagery, and themes of this movie all compliment the first-rate acting. Prepare to have your jaw drop as you watch The Chumscrubber. By Jessica Lux

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