House of D

Bomb Rating: 

The main thematic image in writer/director/actor David Duchovny's film is of Tommy (Anton Yelchin) urinating on the cigarettes his mother (Tea Leoni) tosses in the toilet. This is some kind of game he apparently plays as we see several scenes of Tommy trying to drown the cigarette stubs. Let's remember here that Duchovny is an Ivy League grad, which proves once and for all that cinematic inspiration and an Ivy League education are about as closely related as Haley Joel Osment and heroin (at least for now).

But it gets better! Later on, after Mrs. Warshaw croaks, Tommy symbolizes his love for his mother's memory by rescuing some remaining cigarette butts out of the toilet with his hand and placing them gently in some toilet paper. You really have to wonder what was going through Duchovny's mind right there. It's like the antithesis of sentimental. What does Tommy do with those butts anyway, scrapbook them?

Duchovny as writer succumbs to virtually every bad stereotype known to storytelling. 13-year-old Tommy's best friend is a 40-ish retarded man named Pappass (Robin Williams). Pappass is one of Duchovny's two founts of wisdom in the movie. The other is a prostitute named Lady residing in a House of Detention in Tommy's neighborhood. She basically just yells out her second floor window and instructs Tommy on the proper ways to live, kind of like Oprah with attitude. Now, I'm not prejudiced against either retarded people or prostitutes, so yes, I grant you that if one traveled the world long enough, one could find a couple of these people whose wisdom rivaled that of history's finest philosophers. However, the fact that Tommy finds them in the same neighborhood seems to be stretching credulity just a tiny bit.

As Tom (David Duchovny) begins the flashback that will form the bulk of the movie, he spews some ridiculous drivel about how thirteen is the critical age for all boys because that's when they realize their potential as men, or something inane like that. It's the kind of line you'd expect to read in a short story by the junior high kid in the back of the class who always seems to have his finger up his nose. As far as I can tell, Duchovny better pray there's another X-Files movie because that's about the only chance he's ever going to get to recover from this fiasco.

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