downfall. This R-rated movie is definitely not for youngsters.
Robin Williams is frenetic as the hate-filled Rainbow Randolph Smiley,
who ends up broke and homeless after being busted for taking bribes from
parents who want their kids to be on his show. Enter Ed Norton as a sappy
and idealistic entertainer for kids who is hired by the network to
replace Randolph and save their ratings.
Norton puts on a baggy pink costume and becomes Smoochy the Rhino, the
politically correct kid show host. DeVito plays the sleazy agent who
tries to take Smoochy down the tainted path of his previous clients.
Wild plot developments unfold at a frantic pace. There are dueling
gangs of mobsters, a collection of neo-Nazis, a brain-damaged prize
fighter, dwarfs and murders played for laughs. A bizarre mix of scenes
and characters that are occasionally very funny, but always peculiar.
Bad language and crude sight gags abound. Amusing but vulgar, the
target audience for this fare would appear to be teenage boys with short
As director and star of this effort, DeVito seems to be desperately
trying to recapture the zany atmosphere of his past hits: "The War of the
Roses" and "Throw Mama from the Train." He is only partly successful.
o7 "Death to Smoochy" is rated R for language and sexual references.
f7 * JOHN DEPKO is a Costa Mesa resident and a senior investigator
for the Orange County public defender's office.
'Panic Room" pays off in suspense
"Panic Room," the new film by director David Fincher, never lacks for
suspense. Fincher, whose previous work includes "Fight Club," "The Game,"
and "Seven," once again succeeds in making the audience anxious and
uncomfortable. In any other context, provoking such feelings would be
tantamount to complete failure, but in a suspense-thriller they are
necessary elements that are so often lacking in today's predictable
The film revolves around a room designed to be a fortress against home
invasion in an immense Manhattan townhouse. However, the audience learns,