Ben L. McCain
Timothy Patrick Quill
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My Name Is Bruce (2009)
18th Apr 09
Booze-addled, womanising B-movie star Bruce Campbell tries to save a small mining town in Oregon from an ancient Chinese demon.
Bruce Campbell is a washed out, booze-addled B-movie star with contempt for everyone, especially his ex-wife Cheryl (who looks a lot like Ellen Sandweiss from the original Evil Dead movie). He has a bad habit of drunk-dialling her in the middle of the night, and also his slime ball agent (who looks a lot like Ted Raimi). His agent (who’s also sleeping with his ex-wife, by the way) assures Bruce that, despite just wrapping on another shitty action flick Cave Alien 2, things are actually on the up. He also tells him he’s got a birthday surprise for him. So Bruce gets drunk in his trailer.
Across town, rebel teenager and Bruce Campbell obsessive Jeff Graham and some of his mates are monkeying around in a Chinese graveyard when they unwittingly unleash oriental demon thing Guan-di (also played by Ted Raimi ) that had been watching over the graves of local Chinese immigrant goldmine workers. Jeff’s local town of Gold Lick is now in danger, and he can only think of one person who can help him.
Well, one thing leads to another and before you know it Bruce is climbing out of Jeff’s trunk to a hero’s welcome. He plays along thinking this is the surprise his agent was telling him about, so happily knocks back the free booze, chats up Jeff’s fit mum, and takes in all the local legend mumbo jumbo. He happily agrees to lead the village out to meet Guan-di, despite the amusing protestations of the local Chinese old guy (also played by Ted Raimi, on fine form), figuring it’ll be some guy in a suit or something. But when it turns out this Guan-di guy is for real, it’s every man for himself and Bruce is the one running away faster than anyone else.
Is Bruce a big chicken-shit coward, or will he return to save the day? Well, that’s the rest of the film, obviously, so you’ll have to watch it to find out. And watch it you should, because My Name is Bruce is a lot of fun.
There are a lot of Bruce Campbell fans out there. Most people out there discover Bruce through the Evil Dead movies, everyone loves Bubba Ho-tep and many leave it at that. But there are some who push it. Some go watch Maniac Cop and Mindwarp, and then take in Terminal Invasion. Some go further and catch him in a few episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess, and his cameos in Waxworks II: Lost in Time and Sundown: A Vampire Retreat. But then some of us gullible souls will go on to watch Alien Apocalypse, McHale’s Navy and, err, the first Herbie: The Love Bug remake (I ain’t kidding either). If you’ve seen all those movies (err, or, you know, a few of them) you’ll get a real kick out of My Name is Bruce.
It’s great to see this guy of such fan worship lampoon himself in front of the camera, and I bet it was a lot of fun to do too. It’s great to see Bruce as a drunk asshole being rude to fans, and even better to see them shout back stuff like “…and you sucked in McHale’s Navy!”. It’s great to see Ted Raimi too, who eats up every scene his in like it’s his birthday, in any of his three roles. And it’s also great to see actors like Ellen Sandwiess from Evil Dead and Danny Hicks from Evil Dead II turning up to add to the party.
And a party it is, the jokes are fairly constant and for the most part it is a funny movie. If you’re not a Bruce Campbell thing then there is a chance you won’t get a lot of the slight gags. You know, the use of lines like ”Groovy!” and ”Give me some sugar baby…”, the merchandising gags and the big chainsaw gag which really is very funny if you’ve seen the Evil Dead movies. But having said that you don’t need to know Bruce to recognise the loser stereotype, and the long solo sequence of Bruce scrambling around his cabin, err, I mean trailer looking for booze while delivering a deranged monologue should make anyone laugh, even if they haven’t seen Evil Dead II.
Okay, so My Name is Bruce as a stand alone piece has its faults. Bruce’s directing style is good but it does feel a bit made for cable. And it’s a bit annoying that they didn’t go the whole hog and find the budget to turn this into something akin to Army of Darkness in terms of whacky scale. And admittedly it’s all so silly that you don’t really take any of it seriously really, which is why the surprise ending doesn’t really come as that much of a surprise at all.
But hey, what do you guys care? You’re reading a review on eatmybrains.com, so you must have seen the Evil Dead movies and so must be a Bruce Campbell fan. And in that case you have to watch this film because you’ll probably quite like it. Oh, and in the extras please make sure you watch the trailer for Cave Alien 2. I would love to see a finished Cave Alien 2. Oh my…