It seems like this is the year of the horror/comedy. Almost every other film so far in the MASSACRE MARATHON has been funny or goofy. Tusk is no exception. Conceived during a Kevin Smith hosted podcast as a joke, Smith decided to take it all the way and make it into a feature film. He asked his fans, through a viral voting campaign, who would actually like to see this made. It turns out many people voted #WalrusYes.
I am a fan of most Smith movies, something other film aficionados would probably condemn. He has his niche and a cult following spawned from of it. I am also a fan of Justin Long (Waiting, Jeepers Creepers), another thing that would most likely make most critics fume. I find his mannerisms funny. It’s as simple as that. Tusk is about a man being turned into a walrus. It’s as simple as that. Long plays Wallace, a douche of a man who has his own podcast. He takes a trip up to Canada to interview a guest for his show and ends up taking a detour. At the end of the detour is an old man in a giant house with tall tales and sinister intentions.
My first instinct was to compare this whole premise to The Human Centipede, but I think I liked even that a bit more than Tusk. At least that kept a serious and dismal tone the whole time, unlike Kevin Smith’s new dud. Tusk likes to switch back and forth through tones so often that I often lost track of how the director wanted me to experience his art. With laughter, sadness, terror, or intrigue? Make up your damn mind! Yeah, all of those ingredients might add up to a legendary movie, but in this instance they were so jumbled together it felt like trying to navigate a tempest of feelings with only a flickering candle (representing my waning interest and attentiveness). Many sincerely touching scenes were curiously implemented that would have fit outstandingly into a separate Kevin Smith film, but instead were shoehorned into Tusk in a baffling manner. People watch films like Tusk for absurdity, hilarity, and all things disturbing. Take that intense drama and long-winded dialogue elsewhere!
For a what sounds like a scary movie there is little horror to be found. At least the funny parts were more or less amusing, a high point being EpicMealTime (YouTube) star Harley Morenstein’s cameo. I hope he gets more prominent, beefier roles in other comedies to come. Usually playing a zany, clueless adolescent, Justin Long did a fairly convincing job of being a dick, an archetype he doesn’t usually delve into. Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense, A.I. Artificial Intelligence) was there, for like two seconds. Oh, and Johnny Depp. I think the only reason he was dragged into this is because his daughter has a cameo. Then, he just went with it, bringing forth a mediocre performance of a French-Canadian policeman. The funny accent schtick gets old after waves of monotonous monologues, but if you’re a fan of Depp’s character Guy Lapointe you can rest easy. Mr. Smith is turning this into some sort of loosely connected trilogy and Lapointe is the star of the next film, titled Yoga Hosers. One can only hope the next two will be straight up comedies. It is the only way they can possibly stay afloat. I only wish I could go back in time and stop this nonsense, nip it in the bud. Maybe if I voted #WalrusNo it would have changed history, but now it’s too late. We are stuck with Tusk. Cry for me, Wallace!
2 Wallace Walruses out of 5