What would Jay and Silent Bob say about "Tusk," the weird horror film written and directed by Kevin Smith?
Probably nothing that this family newspaper could print. But thinking about Smith’s iconic foul-mouthed characters demonstrates just how far the director has stretched (or strayed) from his days as the purveyor of smart gross-out humor in comedies like "Clerks" and "Chasing Amy."
The Kevin Smith of today seems to prefer morbid, violent satires like "Red State" in 2011 and "Tusk," two uneven but oddly interesting films that explore the darkness of the human psyche.
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In "Tusk," Wallace (Justin Long), host of a successful podcast in Los Angeles who makes no secret of his desire for money and fame, travels to a remote house in Canada in search of a mysterious man who promises he has "interesting stories" to tell. There he meets Howard Howe (Michael Parks), a serial killer in a wheelchair who forces Wallace to wear the body of a walrus, tusks included.
Crazy plot aside, "Tusk" offers some thought-chewing ideas. But in his zeal to make a strange film, Smith neglects other parts of the movie. His script feels flat and unpolished. When Howe regales his visitor with tales of meeting Ernest Hemingway and surviving sea wrecks, Wallace answers with an endless (and annoying) string of "Are you serious?" and "That’s amazing."
You don’t feel like you wasted your time with "Tusk." But that’s the best compliment you can probably give a film like this.