CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND is the bizarre type of laughless comedy that
only a film critic could admire. Our packed audience was as silent as that at a
funeral. A story about Chuck Barris, the creator of numerous bad television
game shows including "The Gong Show," it will have audiences eager to ring the
gong on it long before its first act is over. It is loosely based on Barris's
hallucinogenic memoirs in which he claims to have been both a game show producer
and a CIA hit man with 33 kills.
With a high concept story, a script by ADAPTATION's Charlie Kaufman and a killer
cast, including Sam Rockwell (GALAXY QUEST) as Barris, George Clooney as
Barris's CIA contact, Drew Barrymore as his girlfriend and Julia Roberts as
another CIA killer, the movie would seem to be an easy home run for any
director. In his directorial debut, Clooney manages to strike out
spectacularly, as audience polling numbers have shown. The choppy film appears
to have been edited in a blender and shot on video tape that was accidentally
left out in the sun. Although both of these "artistic" techniques were clearly
intentional, they work against a film that needs all the help that it can get.
The two story lines -- the game shows and the CIA murders -- are both failures,
but the game show part at least has promise. Every time they bring up the silly
music from one Barris's stupid game shows like "The Newlywed Game" or "The
Dating Game," you can't help but get ready to smile. These programs were the
forerunners of today's reality TV. Although you may be close to smiling, the
smile itself never arrives, much less an actual laugh. And the CIA part is just
a weird waste of time.
"I like to think that I bring joy and laughter to millions of people," Barris
says is the reason that he does what he does. This movie does neither, even if
the vast majority of film critics will lead you to believe otherwise. Save your
money for a real comedy, not an ersatz one like this one.
CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND runs a long 1:53. It is rated R for "language,
sexual content and violence" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes