And to think, I used to be such a big Kevin Smith fan. So this is about the douchiest of podcast hosts (Justin Long), traveling to Canada for an interview. That ends up falling through, but he gets a replacement in a pinch, only to soon find himself in captivity of a madman (Michael Parks) who wants to turn him into a walrus. As I have grown older, Kevin Smith and I have grown apart. Not personally, I don’t know the guy, but I did use to consider myself to be a fan of all his movies, Jersey Girl excluded. It was a gradual burn out for me; I liked Zack and Miri Make a Porno when I watched it, but then it did nothing but depreciate. Then he made Cop Out, and I saw that the emperor had no clothes. Didn’t care for Red State, but I did appreciate that he was at least trying something different. With Tusk, he has now made what is easily his worst film to date, and speaking candidly, it pissed me off.
Let’s go through the copious number of problems that Tusk has. There is not a single likable character featured in this entire movie. Michael Parks is the only slightly bright spot, but he’s playing the insane antagonist. The best friend? Asshole. The cheating girlfriend? Shitty. The main character? Probably the worst person in the world. The character Long is playing has a personality that is about as ugly as the disgusting mustache that he can’t pull off. Almost everything he does reminds you of the worst in society, and because of it, you couldn’t care less once he is in actual peril. You don’t root for something bad to happen to him, you just want him to stop voicing his selfish opinions. Once you get to the actual walrus scene, it has a moment where it could actually start to work. You hear the sounds Long is making, and it unnerves you. But then Smith makes the mistake of showing too much. Just a glimpse of what Long is going through and maybe some close-ups would have gotten the job done, because your imagination would fill in the gaps. Once you see the extent of the rubber costume, which Tusk shows repeatedly, it stops being alarming and starts being stupid.
I’m pretty sure Kevin Smith has some incriminating photos of Long to get him to wear this bodysuit for so much of the runtime.
The biggest problem I have with this movie is the writing; so much of the writer’s voice here comes across like some petulant child who is pissy at the critics for bad reviews, and it gets old, really fast. I’m sorry that Cop Out and Red State were dog shit, but you’ve got to learn from your mistakes. To make this even worse, this runs about 40 minutes too long, and it feels stretched like Silly Putty. Smith has let it be known that this spawned from a story that originated on his podcast, and it shows; there is barely enough material here to cover an hour, let alone a feature film. What is even more flabbergasting about Tusk is that just when you think that it cannot get any worse, that is when the surprise cameo shows up. I will avoid naming who it is for spoiler’s sake, but the character’s name is Guy Lapointe. I am not exaggerating when I say that the movie comes to a screeching halt, and he is godawful. You can tell that Smith had no idea how to direct this actor, and Tusk is so repugnant, there’s a reason why his name is omitted from the end credits. As you can clearly see, I hate this movie with a passion, and it was about two inches away from being my very worst movie of the year. It’s not competent enough to be scary, and it’s too deplorable to be funny. Kevin Smith has reached a new low.
Tusk (2014) 1/2
– Critic for Hire