Blank Man

Damon Wayans really jumped off a building
for this picture. He died after.
"Coming to save your butt!"

Happy Tuesday everyone! As promised, this week I resume reviewing my regular fare, and will start off with a movie which I watched almost enough to make up for the fact that basically no one else did. Starring Damon Wayans as Darryl Walker, a power nerd appliance repairman who's obsessed with being a superhero, because he watched way too many episodes of the 60s Batman tv show when he was little. Daryl invents a variety of really budget gadgets essentially made out of garbage, along with a special solution that makes clothing impervious to attacks. Special tools and a bullet proof costume don't change the fact that Darryl is a maladjusted, spastic dork, and so his initial attempts at fighting crime in a beleaguered city are... middling at best. However with the help of his washing machine robot J5 (I assume this is a Short Circuit reference?) and his brother Kevin (David Alan Grier) Darryl squares off against mob boss Michael Manelli in an attempt to bring him to justice.

What do you mean my costume isn't cool?
I tagged this movie as a superhero movie, but really the only thing super about this movie is what a nerd Darryl is, and what a tool his brother is. The movie is more of a parody of comic and superhero movies, much in the way that the campy Batman that Darryl idolizes was so ridiculous that it was a parody of itself (only Blankman is supposed to be a joke). The movie sets out to be comedic, and it achieved that in a big way for me. Damon Wayans is hilarious as usual. (He appeared intermittently on Saturday Night Live, and later was a regular on In Living Color. In film he appeared opposite Bruce Willis in The Last Boy Scout, but was first lead in 1992 in Mo' Money. More recently he had his own TV show, My Wife and Kids). David Alan Grier likewise is hilarious as the hapless Kevin, who somehow manages to be in the end even lamer than Darryl. Also appearing in this movie are Jason Alexander, as Kevin's tabloid station boss in a wheelchair (best known as George Costanza on Seinfeld) and Jon Polito, a extremely prolific supporting actor and voice actor, whose list of minor roles in movies and tv you've seen stretches on forever and ever. My favorite character is definitely J5 though, Darryl's kind of deficient robot, made out of an old washing machine on wheels, with a pompom for a head, and flashlights for eyes. The only words he can say are "hello Kimberly" (Darryl programs this to try and impress reporter Kimberly Jonz). Who wouldn't love a robot made literally out of garbage?

His hat makes him classy.
Blankman isn't all laughs though. It attempts a modest mix of some heavier moments, to give the plot some impact. Blankman is fighting a mobster, and so consequently people are going to die. You can sort of think of this movie as a less cool, more '90s Kick Ass (but the protagonists are even less special than in that movie). You have a couple normal guys (probably well below the average actually in some ways) trying to make a difference, and also dressing like idiots in the process. It is also worth noting that (much to his dismay) David Alan Grier's costume is not bulletproof, or special in any way. It's just dumb looking. Of course he doesn't discover that little tidbit until after he gets shot.

Just hang on just hang on I'm almost theeeeerre.
Unfortunately, critics and moviegoers didn't share my enthusiasm for Darryl and Kevin's quest for urban justice. Blankman opened to a box office that included recently released Clear and Present Danger (a Tom Clancy adaptation starring Harrison Ford), The Mask, and also Forrest Gump, Maverick, and True Lies, which were in the tail end of their theatrical runs, but still showing strong (Forrest Gump for instance remained at #1 despite being in its 7th weekend). Blankman grossed a scant 7.9 million dollars, making it a resounding failure. Like many movies of its sort Blankman found a cult following after its DVD release, as well as a healthy exposure on TV. I personally recommend it as an awesome example of what a good comedy movie can look like. Not everything needs to be Scary Movie (which incidentally one of Damon's brothers stars in, THANKS MARLON).

That's all for today! Join me Thursday when I explode in text about all the bogus shit people say about The Postman, and how you should all watch it and like it, and cut Kevin Costner some slack while you're at it.
Guy's just trying to make a living.

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