The Chumscrubber

 
Directed by: Arie Posin
Written by:Zac Stanford
Starring: Jamie Bell, Camilla Bell, William Fichtner, Ralph Fiennes, Glenn Close, Allison Janney, Jason Isaacs, Carrie-Anne Moss, Lou Taylor Pucci, Rita Wilson
Released: June 15, 2006
Grade: B

I downloaded the trailer for The Chumscrubber last August and it was immediately on my list of must see films.  It featured many aspiring actors (such as Billy Elliot’s Jamie Bell), many experienced actors (such as The Constant Gardener’s Ralph Fiennes) and a quirky screenplay that reminded me of Donnie Darko (one of my all-time favourite films).

The film can be best described as an ensemble black comedy.  Dean (Bell) is a quiet teenager struggling to understand why his best friend recently committed suicide.  Bill (Fichtner) is a self-help guru promoting his latest book.  Crystal (Belle) is a young girl involved in an unorthodox kidnapping.  Michael (Fiennes) is a politician in search of a life change.  Jerri (Moss) is a middle-aged woman who wants to feel younger.  Lee (Pucci) is a student looking to sell drugs at his school.  Terri (Wilson) is a high-flyer planning her dream wedding.  Carrie (Close) is a mother who has seemingly lost the plot.

The stories of these characters (and a few more I haven’t mentioned) are interrelated.  They will cross paths in both ordinary and strange circumstances.  It all takes place in a well-off neighbourhood where everyone is nice on the outside but not so much on the inside.  It’s like a warped version of Desperate Housewives (if that’s possible). 

So, what’s it all supposed to mean?  That’s where I’m a bit blurry.  The film is interesting throughout but I did leave with an empty feeling and a sense that there was message I didn’t pick up on.  Helping to confuse matters is an animated character, known as the Chumscrubber, who appears at selective points during the film.

The Chumscrubber is a film which I find hard to recommend.  There are plenty of worse films in cinemas at the moment but unless you’re a person who can appreciate an off-beat black comedy, this will be an incredibly frustrating experience.