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Tusk - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Directing: C+
Acting: B
Writing: C-
Cinematography: B
Editing: C

I can't decide who Tusk is for. It's tempting to say hardcore Kevin Smith fans, but that's doubtful, given how far this is from the movies that made him a cult favorite in the first place. Could it be horror fans? Honestly this barely counts as horror, going much more for bizarro-gross. The irony is that Tusk is not horrifying enough, not even gross enough, and honestly, not even Kevin Smithy-enough.

Smith doesn't bother to go for broke on any of its mishmash of aspects. He even admits in interviews how he smokes weed while directing and is just relaxed about it. It shows on screen. This guy could use some discipline.

Many have compared Tusk to The Human Centipede, which I refused to see, so I can only imagine how disgusting it was based on reports. Even I can see that's a lazy comparison, however. So, both movies are about crazy people that surgically alter people to resemble come kind of an animal. That's really where the comparison ends. That one was a centipede; this one is a walrus!

Smith may be fond of saying how he ran out of movie ideas to base on his own life, especially after becoming famous, and so now he's finally reduced to making shit up. But he still injects himself into his stories: he himself is a podcaster, so he cast Justin Long, our sort-of-hero, as a podcaster. He and his podcasting partner, played by Haley Joel Osment now looking like a cuddly bear (his character's name is Teddy, incidentally), do a show they call The Not-See Party. "Not-see," get it? Ugh.

Kevin smith is clearly going for horror-comedy here, but virtually all of the jokes fall completely flat. Justin Long even plays a character named Wallace -- who is eventually turned into a walrus. Yep, he's Wallace the Walrus, although mercifully that's never said in the dialogue. We do get treated to unbelievably hackneyed humor about Canada, though, as Wallace travels there to interview someone for the podcast and encounters locals who pronounce the word "aboot" with more earnestness than perhaps in any other movie this side of South Park.

Tusk is really nothing more than its concept. It's like Kevin Smith got stoned, said, "Whoa, what if we made a movie about a guy who got turned into a walrus!" and then ran with it. Without so much as giving the working script to friends for some constructive criticism.

As for Justin Long himself, he is admirably game in an ultimately thankless part. And Michael Parks is almost enjoyably demented as the man tormenting him once he drugs Wallace in his isolated estate out in the middle of nowhere, Manitoba. "Almost" is the key word there. He's still obsessed with walruses, after all.

The one woman in the story is Genesis Rodriguez as Wallace's girlfriend, and to say she feels like the token female would be an understatement. Eventually we are treated to a nearly unrecognizable Johnny Depp as a Québécois inspector with a fairly outrageous accent. Depp is usually a delight to watch, but here he takes way too long to finish any of his sentences, using that ridiculous accent, and it wears thin quickly.

Is there anything good I can say about this movie? It's far from the worst thing I've ever seen. That's part of its disappointment, though -- it's not even bad enough to be entertaining as a bad movie. The actors are committed to these parts, for some reason, and deliver on the sub-par material forced out of their mouths. For a movie with such an out-there premise, Tusk never delivers on its promise. The best thing about it is the use of the Fleetwood Mac song of the same name. It's the one moment in the film that possesses any real vitality.

Justin Long can't save himself in/or TUSK.

Overall: C
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