When I think about dark comedy, Death to Smoochy is the epitome of the genre. No other films come close (which is why Wes Anderson tends to be a disappointment for me). The material is effed up like whoa, but so over the top that you dont feel guilty for laughing because it's enough on the not believable end of the spectrum. Hmm, I dont think that sentance was grammatically correct. And we also know all about my love of clever dialogue, and Smoochy has it in spades. "When my brothers and I played cowboys and Indians, I was always the Chinese railroad worker." "[singing] He slams the door He stomps his feet He sends me to bed with zilch to eat But my stepdad's not mean he's just adjusting." "Bastard Son of Barney! Die! Die, stuffed ball of fluff! Illegitimate Teletubbie! Die, you Muppet from hell!"
The cast is just superb. Edward Norton shines in a rare comedic performance as Sheldon/Smoochy. He gracefully balances on the fine line between annoying and inspired. I think this was the first film of his I ever saw. I know it was my first Catherine Keener film. She is just beyond brilliant in this. Her typical roles (at least the ones I know her for) have her very grounded and reasonable, but this time she's completely cynical and jaded, which she plays with hilarious perfection. Then of course, you have my comedic hero, Robin Williams, as Rainbow Randolph. There just are no words. Points, as always, for Harvey Fierstein (deja vu?). Also great appearance from Jon Stewart.
I really want a rhino chalk outline on my floor.