Death to Smoochy 30-Second Summary
Written by Adam Resnick (Late Night with David Letterman, Cabin Boy) and directed by Danny DeVito, 2002’s Death to Smoochy is an attempt at dark comedy by way of children’s shows hosts, mixed in with some shady underworld types.
The story’s antagonist, Randolph Smiley (Robin Williams), is disgraced when arrested by the FBI for selling access to his kid’s show Rainbow Randolph. Randolph loses his show and is replaced by the utterly puritanical Smoochy the Rhino, Sheldon Mopes (Edward Norton). Mopes finds stunning success which makes him a bitter enemy of Smiley, who believes that Mopes stole his show. Smiley works throughout the film to try to foil Mopes through various schemes that fail, deepening Smiley’s slide into insanity, driving him to attempt the murder of Mopes and reclaim his status as children’s television’s number one man.
The film had an estimated budget of $55 million and grossed only $8.4 million during its run in the US. It has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 42% by critics, and an audience score of 66%, which aptly reflects the confusion over this movie. It received no awards in favor nor in ridicule. Its misanthropic vision seems to either miss or hit with audiences, leaving us to wonder, “Is Death to Smoochy really worthy of its flop status?”
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