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Idle Hands

Starring Devon Sawa, Seth Green Elden Henson, Jessica Alba and Vivica A. Fox
Screenplay by Terri Hughes & Ron Milbauer
Directed by Rodman Flender

IN SHORT: Cranky is so not eighteen... [Rated [R]]

And as all the other almost 40-ish reviewers ran screaming for the exits, one lone wolf leaned back in his seat. Closed his eyes. Opened his mouth and sang along with the Ramones tune that accompanied the end credits.

Twenny twenny twenny four hours ago...
I wanna be sedated...

Yeah, drop a Ramones track into a film and Cranky locks down tight. Incredulously, I survived Idle Hands, which begins as a wretched play on slice 'n' dice flicks and transforms into a warped comedy with some gruesome killings, always implied but not graphically shown. Just the kind of stuff that would have made a good flick when I was twenty, hitting the bong and possessing the attention span of a newt, which is a pretty good description of the lifestyle of the principle characters of this flick.

Ah, nostalgia.

It being May, Idle Hands is logically set at Halloween (probably so other critics can bitch about the movie sitting on the shelf because it's terrible) which allows all sorts of script references to unnamed Ancient Evil gripping the land (intending to drag one pure Soul down into the depths of Hell at the stroke of midnight) while parading nubile young things in clingy costumes across the screen. It's good to be young...

Totally oblivious to all this, and to the series of mysterious murders occurring in his home town of Bolan [after Marc Bolan, a rock musician killed horribly in a car accident in the late 70s] is Anton Tobias (Devon Sawa), a nice whitebread kid who has a passion for heavy metal music and fine bud. Yep, a stoner slacker, the typical American teen. His whitebread parents (Fred Willard and Connie Ray) furnish their home from mail order catalogs, over-celebrate all the traditional holidays, and shuffle off the mortal coil in a tacky pastiche of traditional slice 'n' dice horror flicks.

Anton, of course, never notices the body parts on the living room floor. He's out of weed, and must score some more. Enter his best buds, as in friends, Mick (Seth Green) and Pnub (Elden Henson) and discover his unspoken lust for the fine thing across the street, Molly (Jessica Alba). To make a long story short, Anton's hand is possessed by that previously mentioned unnamed Ancient Evil, and it forces him to kill by any means possible at the most inconvenient times.

Idle Hands, still at this point, feels like a terribly pieced together from outtakes of old horror flicks kind of movie. Then, Anton discovers that he is the town's mystery killer, Mick and Pnub are dispatched and buried, and the film gets real interesting real fast.

For what Idle Hands is, is a comedy utilizing lots of jokes about what you can do to dead bodies, in the manner of Weekend at Bernie's (if anyone remembers those flicks). The humor is sick. It is topped by some even sicker, and probably clever ways to kill innocent young nubiles in Halloween gear (Molly parades through half the flick dressed as a Victoria's Secret Angel, which should have this old man flogging himself into a bloody heap on the floor, except that he had installed a teen mindset and was really enjoying the view...)

Ah, hell people, what do you expect me to say about a movie that is so not for me that I should have run the other way, like all the other old fart critics? The story line barely holds the thing together - Anton must save Molly from the Evil while trying not to get killed by Druidic priestess Debi Lecure (Vivica A. Fox) who is hunting him down - and it all goes gag, murder, gag, murder, gag . . .

We mean gag as in jokes. Not as in fingers down your throat.

This movie bites, at least until Seth Green (whom you all know and love from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) gets killed off and returns as a zombie commentator on the subsequent proceedings. That's about a third of the way in. From this point on the humor kicks in hard, and it's funny enough that even this old dog chuckled here and there.

I am sick and tired of bothering y'all with refs to my aged bones. Then again, who else would've explained "Bolan" to you?

If you're GenX level, Idle Hands is aimed at you. Beyond that, keep away (unless, of course, you haven't heard Ace Frehley's "New York Groove" in a long time, here accompanied by a splatter kill of a couple of kidlets in Kiss makeup. Good, gory fun.)

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Idle Hands, he would have paid...


$5.00 date flick for all you wasted teens and GenXers, I'd guess.

Cranky had more fun talking about the flick with Vivica A. Fox who was quizzed on the meaning of "Druidic ritual sex." in a must read, CrankyCritic StarTalk

ADDENDUM: three days later, Cranky got this e-mail from Terri Hughes, one of the writers of the flick:
"I enjoyed your Idle Hands review very much. Just wanted to pass on to you, though, that the town of Bolan was actually named after a disturbing obsession I used to have (I swear, I'm over it!) with Rachel Bolan, bass player of Skid Row -- who I bet took HIS name from Marc."
Cranky stands corrected.

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