Released in 2002 this black comedy directed by and co starring Danny DeVito is what Buried Treasure is all about. largely overlooked at cinema and on DVD, this comic gem deserves cult status.
Robin Williams plays children’s TV entertainer Rainbow Randolph, he was the toast of the town until he gets arrested for taking pay offs from parents to put their children on his show. Randolph is quickly fired and his life becomes a downward spiral of madness and bitterness.
Edward Norton stars as Sheldon, an idealistic would be entertainer who, wearing a home made Rhino outfit, sings in methadone clinics across America as Smoochy The Rhino. Unlike other children’s entertainers, Sheldon has morals and doesn’t want to compromise his message by trying to sell a plastic lunch box.
In steps Cathrine Keener as Nora, a TV executive who once produced The Rainbow Randolph Show but is now looking for something more wholesome to take its place. Nora convinces Sheldon to bring Smoochy to TV and it’s not long before Smoochy is a Television phenomenon around the world.
Smoochy is a difficult film to pigeon-hole and it’s all the better for it, Devito is no stranger to this though as his earlier directorial effort The War of The Roses was another great pitch black comedy that was a hard sell. There are appearances from Jon Stewart, Pam Ferris and Michael Rispoli as former boxer Spinner who adds real heart to the film almost steals the show.
Danny DeVito clearly enjoys the darker side of humour and it’s a shame Smoochy didn’t find a bigger audience, if you have yet to see him in the fantastic “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” then you need to go over to Netflix right now and take 3 days off work.
It’s well worth tracking down on DVD if you can find it.