SUPER (2011)

Running Time: 96 mins.                      Rating: 1 Star/5 Stars

MPAA Rating: NR

Director: James Gunn

Genre: Action/Comedy/Drama

Country: USA

Language: English

Distributor: IFC Films

Cast: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker, Gregg Henry, Andre Royo, Nathan Fillion, William Katt, Lloyd Kaufman

SUPER is super bad.  A Troma film for the ComiCon socially stunted comic book geeks who haven’t yet grown up into graphic novels.

What do people see in Rainn Wilson (he’s a second banana at best)?  Ellen Page is a wonderful actress and can do better; she has (JUNO, HARD CANDY).  We all know Bernie Madoff made off with Kevin Bacon’s money, but does he need to sink this low for a paycheck?  Michael Rooker has been progressively sliding down the slippery slope of mediocrity since his fantastic feature debut in HENRY, PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER.  His career is starting to look like that of my favorite American actor John Carradine (from John Ford’s STAGECOACH to EVILS OF THE NIGHT).

A student film with name actors, SUPER is about a wuss (Rainn Wilson) with a junkie wife (Liv Tyler) who takes off and shacks up with her scene-chewing dealer (Kevin Bacon) and his third-rate henchmen (led by Michael Rooker).  Said wuss wallows in self pity watching horrendous Christian broadcasting (trust me, in real life this stuff is dreadful – check out Baptist children’s programming for confirmation) and decides he will morph into a DIY superhero, the Crimson Bolt.  Hanging out at a comic book shop with other middle-aged nerds, the Crimson Bolt meets his future demented sidekick Boltie (Ellen Page), an ADD passive aggressive Robin off her Riatlin to his doofus Batman portrayed by a Harvey Pekar incarnate.

Director James Gunn’s ex-boss from Troma, Lloyd Kaufman, makes a cameo.  Lloyd, who delusionally thinks he’s on the same level as Roger Corman, with his partner in crimes-against-cinema Michael Herz, makes lousy films (CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH) but occasionally acquires decent films like WHITE ELEPHANT with Peter Firth which they proceeded to butcher into an exploitation flick retitled THE BATTLE OF THE AFRICAN GHOSTS, cutting in stock footage of elephants on the rampage, and booking it onto the bottom of a Forty Deuce double bill in the mid ’80s.

I will take credit for recommending performance artist Phoebe Legere to them for their pup-tentpole series THE TOXIC AVENGER.  When I worked for them, albeit briefly, oh so many years ago doing acquisitions, they were too cheap to put a fair advance on the table to acquire films like MONDO NEW YORK (Phoebe is why the film received an ‘X’-rating causing Paramount to walk away from distributing it) and the Fred Olen Ray classic HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS.  My favorite film in their library is SURF NAZIS MUST DIE.

Gunn’s epic vision of grandeur flatlines at his favorite tv show ‘THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO’.  Here he has its’ star William Katt cameo as a cop with dialogue that appears to be reject lines from the original scripts of the series.  Gunn should go back to writing dreck like SCOOBY DOO and TROMEO & JULIET, leaving filmmaking to the people with some modicum of talent.

If you like this recommendations: Kick-Ass, Defendor, Sky High