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DVD Review: The Darwin Awards

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Written by Fumo Verde

These awards have been posthumously given out since 1991 and there is a book of all the “winners.” Many take offense to those who make light of the premature death of others, but if you think about it, some of these clownshoes had it coming. Director Finn Taylor not only makes light, he makes you laugh. This movie weaves together true and false claims about past award recipients with the backdrop of romance in the insurance industry. Starring Joseph Fiennes as an ex-profiling expert with the SFPD who joins Winona Ryder, the claims adjuster for a major insurance company, they are out not to save the world but to save the company money.

Fiennes does a wonderful job of an anal-retentive police profiler who passes out at the sight of blood. He lets a killer go in the beginning then tracks his movements through out the movie. After losing a wanted serial killer, Fiennes tries to get a job with an insurance company. Enter Ryder who has seen it all during her travels and has ice water for blood. She has told starving mothers that their claims have been denied with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, but this shit is getting to her. They are accompanied by a cast that includes David Arquette, Juliette Lewis, Wilmer Valderrama, and Metallica to name few.

I liked the idea of this movie but I found myself laughing mainly at the actions that bring about the untimely deaths of the awardees. The plot surrounding these weird deaths falls short, leaving you wanting to see more crazy ways people have accidentally killed themselves. It would have been nice to dig a little deeper into the workings of the insurance industry and to see why they deny all claims to everyone right off the bat. Anything would have been better than boy meets girl and falls in love as he catches the bad guy while helping poor insurance companies revoke claims due to the stupidity of the deceased. And let’s be honest here, some of the accidents are real award winners while others are urban legends, to find out which are real and which urban legends one will have to visit the award’s website.

It was a fun movie but I’m glad I didn’t pay ten bucks to see it in the theater. See this on cable or rent it for a dollar if you can. Quirky and sick, but that kind of sick where you know you have a shit-eating grin on your face, and you still won’t wipe it off.

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS