Monday, February 12, 2007
RUNNING WITH SCISSORS
Welcome to Critical Mass! To kick things off, here's the review for Ryan Murphy's adaptation of Augusten Burrough's book, Running With Scissors. Enjoy!
Based on Augusten Burroughs' best-selling memoir, Running With Scissors features a cast of heavy-weight actors including Anette Benning, Brian Cox, Alec Balwin and Gwyneth Paltrow. Augusten is a young boy dealing with a narcissistic mother (Benning) he adores and an alcoholic father (Baldwin) he is practically a stranger to. Augusten's mother who is convinced she is the world's best unknown poet divorces her husband on the grounds that he is smothering her creativity and takes Augusten to live with Dr. Finch (Cox), an eccentric psychiatrist and his dysfunctional and outlandish family. Dr. Finch's advice is anything but helpful and Augusten's mother's becomes more and more unstable, eventually abandoning Augusten to Finch's strange family.
This film should have been a lot better than it is. For a film that promises black comedy, eccentricity and satire, instead you're left willing the film to end so you can just move on. The biggest problem is the film's smugness and pretentiousness. The characters are written to be quirky and endearing, but instead come across and plain annoying. The film is reminiscent of The Royal Tenenbaums (which ironically also stars Gwyneth Paltrow and is narrated by Alec Baldwin) but where as The Royal Tenenbaums was genuinely funny, Running With Scissors will have you struggling for laughter. Director Ryan Murphy's attempt to mix wackiness with emotion falls far short of the mark and what might have worked well on page, really does not translate to the screen.