My Name Is Bruce

My Name Is Bruce


Reviewed by: Daniel Hooper

Actors don’t come more ‘cult’ than Bruce Campbell – the star of the Evil Dead series and Bubba Ho-tep has built a cottage industry around this status, writing the books Make Love The Bruce Campbell Way and If Chins Could Kill – Confessions Of A B-Movie Actor, making amusing cameos throughout the Spider-Man series thanks to his Sam Raimi connection, and now directing and starring as himself in My Name Is Bruce.

With its amusingly barmy plot, My Name Is Bruce really plays to this cult appeal, albeit in a self-conscious way. A Chinese ghost Guan-Di, the protector of the dead with a predilection for decapitation, is back following the desecration of a graveyard of Chinese mineworkers by lousy teenagers. Naturally, washed-up B-movie actor Campbell is the man to save the day, kidnapped by a fan in the mistaken belief Bruce can save the town of Gold Lick because of his heroic characters.

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The silliness of the plot is matched by the silliness of the humour, but unfortunately My Name Is Bruce plays a lot like a neutered Troma movie – yes, MNIB has a high-concept plot, schlocky violence, ropey effects, and crude humour, but it lacks what makes Troma films appealing, namely the razor-sharp satirical touches and garage rock filmmaking ethos.

A lot of the jokes are simply one-note – there’s only a certain amount of times, if at all, you can laugh at the concept of redneck homosexuals or vaguely racist jokes about the Chinese love of bean curd. That’s not to say My Name Is Bruce is without laughs – Ted Raimi is great and, thankfully, he plays three characters, while the scenes of the-film-within-a-film Cavealien 2 are also a hoot – but the best this offers is mild mirth rather than the gut laughs you hope for.

That both My Name Is Bruce and the self-referential Jean-Claude Van Damme heist movie JCVD are released within a month of each other is interesting, as the portrayal of the actors in these meta-genre films differ greatly - JCVD seeks to illuminate the troubled actor as a sympathetic character, while My Name Is Bruce is merely content to portray the ordinarily charismatic Campbell as an unlikeable caricature.

There are a few laughs to be had at the references to Campbell’s career and his cowardly douche-bag persona but, again, these gags tire quickly. Although Campbell clearly has skills behind the camera and often demonstrates a good visual style, My Name Is Bruce feels blunt, missing the mark as comedy, horror or character study.

Reviewed on: 06 Apr 2009
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Washed-up actor Bruce Campbell is forced to save the town of Gold Lick from ghost Guan-Di.
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Director: Bruce Campbell

Writer: Mark Verheiden

Starring: Bruce Campbell, Adam Boyd, Mike Estes, Janelle Farber, Kieran Henthorn, Dan Hicks, Jeff Hunter, Michael Kallio, Dani Kelly, Duncan Key

Year: 2007

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Leeds 2008

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