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DVD Review: My Name Is Bruce
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Obi-Dan   |  
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Week of Geek: Bruce Campbell

My Name is Bruce DVDMy Name Is Bruce
Directed by Bruce Campbell
Starring Bruce Campbell, Taylor Sharpe, Ted Raimi
Image Entertainment
Available now

As if you didn’t know already, this is very much the Bruce Campbell show. At the beginning, after Clayton dares to say something bad about Bruce, Jeff says: ‘Get out of the car. You don’t like Bruce, you walk.’ I think this line sets the tone for the whole movie: you’re either in for the ride, or you’re out. I was in quicker than you can say “˜chainsaw for a hand.’

Jeff (Taylor Sharpe) and Clayton are driving, on their way to meet the Debbie’s ‘to get laid’ (where? in a cemetery. Duh.). Jeff and “˜big Debbie’ go for a walk to break stuff and as they do Jeff finds a mysterious amulet, which he pockets. Little did Jeff know he just opened a world of terror on his fellow townsfolk.

Guan-Di, the Chinese protector of the dead and bean curd (yes, bean curd), is awakened and starts his murderous rampage through the town. Terrified, the people of Gold Lick, Oregon, need help. They need back-up from someone who knows how to deal with evil monsters. They need Bruce Campbell.

Bruce Campbell (starring as himself as the character Bruce Campbell) is a washed-up action star forced to make low-budget, no-creativity, straight-to-dvd sequels to make a living. When we first see Bruce he is playing maverick soldier Stryker in the impossibly complicated and incredibly cheap straight-to-dvd sequel, Cavealien 2, frustrated at not being treated like the star he is. Divorced from his wife, Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss), he is living in a trailer and verging on being an alcoholic. In the early hours of his birthday, Bruce Campbell is abducted by Jeff and taken to Gold Lick. Fortunately for them, Bruce is an actor with an ego that needs attention and he thinks the whole town has been set up by his agent, Mills Toddner (Ted Raimi), as an elaborate birthday present and he is happy to help.

This is a comedy-horror with the focus definitely on comedy, which ol’ big chin lays on in spades. Bruce Campbell (the actor) is a terrific comedy performer. He elicits a good laugh equally well from a knowing glance to running away screaming and shooting, and he always delivers the perfect smart line. Campbell clearly loves pointing the camera at himself, but there are also plenty of laughs from the support. Among the sideshow are some familiar faces whose scenes are littered with in jokes. Gun shop owner Frank is played by Timothy Patrick Quill who played the blacksmith in Army Of Darkness and the farmer is Dan Hicks, Jake in Evil Dead II. These two share a very funny scene which ends in them holding hands and Frank whispers “˜I wish I could quit you.’ Bruce’s agent is played by Ted Raimi (who also plays ridiculously accented French signpost painter, Ted, and old Chinese man, Wing (“˜hello, mister plot point.’)). Bruce’s ex-wife Cheryl is played by Ellen Sandweiss who played Ash’s sister, Cheryl, in Evil Dead.

Bruce Campbell is a good comedy director who knows what is funny and is capable of making it happen. It is pitched brilliantly and hits the right note: B. It is his enthusiasm behind and in front of the camera that really carries the movie above and beyond the level of other B-movies.

The jokes are laid on by writer Mark Verheiden at Airplane speed; a constant flow of verbal and sight gags. These are often hit and miss but Campbell makes it feel as though the hit rate was higher than it probably was.

This is a cult movie about a cult actor who has become cult legend starring a cult actor who has become cult legend full of cheap gore, cheap laughs, and cheap shirts. For Bruce fans, this needs to be in your collection.

You think Bruce Campbell would make a movie about Bruce Campbell without adding extra features starring Bruce Campbell? Think again.

There’s feature-length commentary with Campbell and producer Mike Richardson. Here Bruce is again on-form, explaining just about everything that happened on the movie. Commentaries can either be very funny or very boring. This is somewhere in-between, but Bruce’s enthusiasm and natural wit sucks you in.

‘Heart of Dorkness’ is a cool and very funny documentary about how the movie came together. There are interviews with writer Mark Verheiden, several members of the cast, Ted Raimi and, of course, Bruce Campbell. A lot of the cast and crew are old friends of Bruce or related to him (his son plays “˜shot in the arm guy’) and tell the story of how they know Bruce and what projects they have worked on together. They all seem like very cool people and all clearly had a great time making the movie.

“˜Beyond Inside The Cave: The Making Of Cavealien 2 – A Truth-u-mentary’ is not only the greatest extra features title ever, but it’s also a great behind the scenes mockumentary on the “˜set’ of Cavealien 2. There is also a trailer for Cavealien 2 on the disc which adds to the ridiculous fun of such a crappy pretend movie. “˜Love Birds’ and “˜The Hard Truth’, are hilarious too and just because one of them is not about Bruce Campbell, doesn’t mean he won’t get the last laugh. “˜Bruce On”¦’ is just Bruce talking. But before you get a chance to say “˜Wait”¦what is he talking about?!’ It’s too late; he’s charmed you into his story.

2 Comments »

  1. Good review! I love Bruce Campbell and this movie definitely did not disappoint.

    Comment by Erin — June 3, 2009 @ 11:18 am

  2. Having watched Bruce Campbell for, I don’t know, almost 20 years now, My Name Is Bruce was an amazing film. I loved the backstory to the movie production, all the people who came in to work on the film for next to nothing, and even the cameos of Bruce’s family were great. I hope Bruce makes a sequel, calling it Bruceville.

    While I’m rambling, I want a Brisco County Jr. movie too.

    Comment by Devon — June 4, 2009 @ 10:40 am

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