Movies From the Black Lagoon: My Name is Bruce
Movies From the Black Lagoon
My Name is Bruce - 2009, Rated R
An aging B-Movie star is all that stands between a small town and the wrath of an ancient Chinese demon in this horror-comedy that provides a lot of yuks at the expense of actor/director Bruce Campbell who proves to be good sport with the same brand of self deprecating humor that he showed with his book about working in the B-Movie trenches (If Chins Could Kill).
It all begins like a bad horror movie with tweens double dating for a trip to a cemetery. The designated driver is Jeff who probably wouldn't have scored the date except he has a car. He barely has room for passengers as his car is chock full of Bruce Campbell DVDs but that's nothing compared to his room which is a virtual shrine to the actor. The date goes poorly as it turns out that Campbell's dialog from "Army of Darkness" does not impress the Goth chick that Jeff is escorting. The only thing that lines like "Gimme some sugar baby" get him is a fat lip but the date truly goes sour when he removes an talisman from a crypt door and unleashes the Chinese demon "Guan-di."
It turns out that the town of Gold Lick, Oregon was built on the bones of Asian immigrants who toiled in the gold mines and perished there in an explosion and now Guan-di is ready for payback. Jeff survives the resulting slaughter and heads for Hollywood in hopes that his cinematic hero can save the day.
Campbell enters the picture on the set of his latest direct to video feature, Cave Alien. He's not a happy camper and appears to be sinking faster than his chances of landing an Oscar nod for his latest rubber-suited alien opus. In quick order he is turned down by his leading lady, accosted by rude fans, and hit up for more alimony from his ex-wife (who's also having it on with his doofus agent). Prospects are decidedly grim as he heads back to his trailer park for a night of getting drunk with his dog. Jeff shows up to enlist Campbell's aid but the drunken Bruce assumes he's just another nerd with an obsession and blows him off. Turns out that Jeff is not taking no for an answer and he subdues the actor with a well placed Louisville slugger to the cranium.
Campbell awakens in the trunk of Jeff's car and is greeted by the town of Gold lick when he's finally allowed to disembark. He mistakenly believes that he is being pranked for a reality show and decides to play ball in the hopes that it will revive his ailing career. He patiently listens to the townspeople as they fill him on their demon problem and he opts to make the best of the situation. That night he leads the charge to the cemetery and quickly realizes that he's in way over his head and promptly flees the scene with out a shred of dignity intact. However he can't resist the urge to be a real hero (or maybe assuage some guilt) when Jeff decides to take on the demon all by himself. It all leads to a final confrontation with Guan-di and a final scene that turns the whole thing into an extended joke as we see that it was a fictional movie all along, or was it?
This one is a gift to the fans and Campbell has some fun with their expectations. His ability to poke fun at himself is a true gift as is his Teflon ego, which allows him to rip into his own success and point out that there have been plenty of missteps in his career. This is far from an ego-fest and truly appears to be a case of an actor taking on a project as a love letter to the fans that have followed his every move and kept him employable. There are a fair amount of in-jokes here but the material should appeal to non-fans as well.
Best Line: " Consider yourself officially exempt from my wrath sweet cakes and, if you're lucky, a little later I'll let you play with my boom stick."
Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail and to read to children every Wednesday at 10:30am at Borders in Hagerstown. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.