Rat Race

Bomb Rating: 

This has nothing to do with the film, but I came up with an idea while a child sitting in front of me screamed at the top of its lungs for the last fifteen minutes of the showing: The federal government should institute some sort of sterilization process by which cameras are placed in all theaters to spot "parents" who aren't cogent enough to remove their gifted spawn from the theater when they begin screeching at jet-engine decibel levels. Shortly after such an incident, the parents would be zapped with some sort of laser, rendering them sterile. Then somebody from social services shows up and places their existing kids in foster care and whacks the parents over the head with something spiked.

Ironically, the fact that this woman thought she had the right to bring her child into the theater and disturb 400 other people is directly related to the theme of this movie, which is: Screw everyone else; think only of yourself. In the film, a Las Vegas casino tycoon, Donald Sinclair (John Cleese), creates a contest for a whole bunch of B-list film actors: Be the first to open a locker in Silver City, New Mexico, and win two million dollars.

Okay, the script kindly infers they're supposed to be A-list actors, but you can't make a rollicking adventure film with big stars because suddenly the budget is $200 million before filming even begins. The result is so many B-list actors crawling across the screen you'd think it was a remake of "The Swarm." This, too, plays into the theme: The greedy studio won't give us the best actors because they don't really want to give us the best product. They want profit. The people in the movie treat each other like crap and use any means necessary, short of killing each other (it's PG-13 after all), to win the money. (In the unrated director's cut, however, Jon Lovitz is decapitated with a shrimp fork by an enraged Rowan Atkinson).

Just so I'm not accused of not doing my movie critic job, here's who's in the film besides Rowan Atkinson, Jon Lovitz and John Cleese: Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding, Jr. (the first time two African-American Academy Award winners have appeared in a film together, the production notes point out), Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, Kathy Najimy and Amy Smart. Kinda takes the wattage out of the phrase "star power," don't it?

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