Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (1)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley


  I really have nobody to blame but myself.  Julia Roberts is in this film.  As if that weren’t bad enough, so is George Clooney.  And if those facts weren’t bad enough, Clooney directs it!  How could it be any good? 

 But I went to see it anyway.  The story is that Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell), who produced some of the worst television shows of all time, like The Gong Show, is recruited by a mysterious Jim Byrd (Clooney) to become a hit man for the CIA.  So we have to believe that the CIA employed hit men to go around the world killing people and that Barris, who was a wimpy nobody when he was chosen, would be a candidate, out of 200 million Americans, for this type of work. From what I gathered out of the movie, Byrd picked him, after tailing him and compiling a dossier, because he was so terrible in bar fights.  He fit the “profile,” according to Byrd.  Does that make any sense?  Does anything in this movie make any sense?

 Rockwell does a pretty good job of making Barris an object of ridicule.  Clooney is, well, Clooney, which, when coming from my pen, is not a compliment.  And the directing is terminally artsy and cutesy.  The peripheral sound goes off from time to time; the lighting changes; Clooney speaks in a monotone all the time.  Clooney’s death scene is ludicrous beyond belief (I don’t like to give things away, but nothing anyone says can make this movie less enjoyable than it made itself).

 You never do know who Patricia (Julia Roberts) is, or why the character is in the movie.  And the language!  Everybody uses the “f” word, including Leonard Goldenson, the founder and Chairman of the Board of ABC.  And it’s not just occasional.  It’s all the time. 

 The moral tone is low.  Not only does it show prolific sex without responsibility or ramification, it shows Barris’s murders as just being everyday things without explanation, meaning or consequence.  The people who are killed are no more than ciphers, rather than real people with families and friends.  As to the sex, Barris sleeps with everyone he can with the knowledge and consent of his girl friend, Penny (Drew Barrymore).  But, after a relationship that was defined by infidelity, all of a sudden she gets angry when she finds him in the arms of another woman.  What nonsense.

 The best thing I can say about this is that it’s a stinker.

 January 26, 2003

The End