Man, Michael Rapaport is awesome. Remember his role as Dick Ritchie in “True Romance,” or his part as Murray “Superboy” Babitch in “Copland?” Classics! So why has this man been resigned to playing bit roles and doing voiceovers for video games? Wait a minute, what’s this? Michael Rapaport has a starring role in a movie called “Special” and it was released in 2006? How the hell did this one slip past my radar? Thanks for picking up the slack, Netflix. This is why I pay you 16 bucks a month.
In the movie “Special” Michael Rapaport plays Les, a lonely peon parking attendant in some nondescript city. When he’s not busy writing tickets, he’s busy reading comic books and day dreaming about how sweet it would be to have the power of flight (pretty fucking sweet). Les isn’t totally miserable, but not completely content, so he decides to add a little pizzaz to his humdrum life by volunteering as a guinea pig for a new antidepressant called Special. So Les starts popping these little blue pills and before long he is levitating in his living room, reading the minds of people on the street, and teleporting through walls. During his weekly checkup, he demonstrates his newly acquired powers to his doctor (played by Jack Kehler) by jumping off a desk and hovering inches above the floor. But it turns out Les isn’t really hovering, or reading minds, or teleporting. The drug he’s been taking has shut down the area of his brain which regulates self doubt. Absolutely delusional and without inhibition, Les puts on a homemade costume and starts patrolling the streets as a superhero. Oh yeah, and that kid from “The Wackness” works in the comic book store, but in this movie he’s a lot younger and a lot fatter.
Don’t be fooled by the blurb on the cover of Special that reads, “Laugh-out loud funny,” this movie isn’t a comedy. But it is sort of billed as a comedy. Why does this happen? Remember that movie called “The Ice Harvest?” Every single advertisement I saw for this movie had me believing I was going to see some slapstick buddy heist movie. Did you see that trailer? Oliver Platt got kicked square in the dick. But no, that movie wasn’t funny. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really funny either. The same thing happened with “Burn After Reading” and more recently, “A Serious Man.” Both of those movies were pretty good, but just because they didn’t pour on the humor, critics shit all over ’em. What is going on in Hollywood? If I had to guess, I think it’s something like this:
PR guy A: We’ve got this new movie called “The Ice Harvest” starring John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton.
PR guy B: Sounds pretty funny.
PR guy A: It’s not.
PR guy B: Let’s pull one over on the hardworking American public and make them think it’s a funny movie.
PR guy A: But won’t they all be pissed once they find out that it isn’t funny?
PR guy B: Who the fuck cares? By the time they wise up, we’ll already have their money (maniacal laugh).
So Special has it’s funny moments, but by and large it’s a drama (Netflix categorizes it as a Sci-fi drama). It definitely managed to keep my attention but it seems like all of the critics just wanted bigger laughs. I read a review that mentioned all of the missed opportunities for humor in this movie which is sort of sick, because when Special starts building momentum it turns into a story about a mentally disturbed man trying to fight crime. Besides, Hollywood already made a comedy about a mentally disturbed superhero. It was called “Blankman” and it co-starred George Costanza in a wheelchair (now that’s entertainment). This was writer/director Hal Haberman’s and Jeremey Passamore’s first and only movie and I think they managed to pull off something special (no pun intended). Going to their IMDB page and seeing that they haven’t directed anything since, I feel like they were defeated by a bunch of hypercritical assholes. Don’t be an asshole, check out Special.
I give Special: 8 out of 10 improperly tested pills