Tuesday, August 21, 2012

THINNER (1996) review

Thinner (1996) (2nd viewing) d. Holland, Tom (USA)

After rotund lawyer Robert John Burke accidentally runs down an aged gypsy woman in the street, the victim’s father attacks the barrister (and those who colluded with him to avoid justice) with a terrifying wasting black magic curse. Despite medical testing and a literal all-consuming diet, Burke’s pounds keep slipping off until, frantic at the skeletal prospects, he enlists former mobster client Joe Mantegna to track down the vengeful mystic and his saucy slingshot wielding granddaughter (Kari Wuhrer). The same year Rick Baker turned Eddie Murphy into the charmingly obese Sherman Klump for The Nutty Professor update, Oscar-winning makeup legend Greg Cannom tried his hand at inflating (and deflating) his star to more sinister effect…with less success. But under Tom Holland’s surprisingly garish direction, the whole affair is as blatantly artificial and cartoonish as Burke’s latex induced triple chin; a shame since what is called for (and what worked to such fine effect in Stephen King’s source novel) is shadowy mystery and creepy atmosphere rather than eye-rolling C-grade performances and in-your-face gross-outs. Disappointing, especially considering the talent involved.

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