|By Zach Patterson||Sunday, 11 Oct 2009|
My Name Is Bruce is a interesting movie that ultimately falls a little short of its conceived idea. The movie centers around Bruce Campbell, playing himself, and a town that is beset by an ancient Chinese guardian known as Guan-Di after a group of teenage kids disturb a mine in the town of Gold Lick where hundreds of Chinese workers died in an accident. After Guan-Di goes on a killing rampage and murders all the teenagers except Jeff, the Bruce Campbell mega fan, Jeff decided he needs to find Bruce himself in order to save the town, based on his heroics from movies like the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness.
Meanwhile, Bruce Campbell really hams it up as an extremely washed up actor, on the set of a sequel to what was already an awful movie. He has a sleazy agent, an apparent drinking problem, lives in a trailer, and pines after his ex-wife. I think they made him a little too ridiculously pathetic, and then they also made him act like a huge asshole for most of the movie, which just gets kinda lame after awhile. It’s kinda clear he’s not being himself, and he’s playing a character, it’s just a warped version of himself.
Anyway, he gets abducted by the aforemention Jeff and taken to Gold Lick, as he has been promised to save them from the horrors of Guan-Di before anyone else dies. The simple minded townfolk buy it hook, line, and sinker, and welcome him like a hero. From here on out, you can pretty much insert the general plot of Army of Darkness, complete with the love interest (Jeff’s mother), a cowardly fall from grace, humbling return, and eventual victory.
While overall it’s a reasonably satisfying movie, there’s some stuff that could have been improved. Now, while I’m sure the villain Guan-Di was supposed to look cheesy and b-movie-esque, he looks pretty laughably bad. And he certainly doesn’t look cool. It kinda just looked like a bad puppet with red glowing eyes. Furthermore, Bruce Campbell is a likable everyman-type guy, and here he just plays a pathetic ass. It was kinda disappointing that in a movie that was very much supposed to be a tribute to what’s great about Bruce Campbell, it had a poor role and only a so-so performance by Bruce himself. Additionally, Ted Raimi, while normally a welcome cameo in many of Campbell’s movies, just plays too many roles here, and it’s a little too obvious that he does 3 different characters here, all playing some sort of important role in the movie. Finally, while the movie razzes Bruce at various times about some of the crappier movies he’s been in, the insults are often placed at strange parts of the movie, and seem out of place when the character says something like “McHale’s Navy sucks!” after Bruce just comes out of nowhere and steals a child’s bike.
On the plus side, the movie does succeed in having some great references to Bruce’s catalog of work, and in general, you can tell it was made with a lot of heart. You kinda forgive the stuff I mentioned above because it feels like the actors had a lot of fun making it, and in general, it’s the kind of light, quick, fun movie that you don’t need to think too much about or analyze too deep. For most people, this is just an all right movie, but for any Campbell fans, it’s definitely worth a watch and will have several scenes that will leave you smiling.