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  My Name is Bruce The Man Behind The Legend
Year: 2007
Director: Bruce Campbell
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Grace Thorsen, Taylor Sharpe, Ted Raimi, Ben L. McCain, Ellen Sandweiss, Timothy Patrick Quill, Dan Hicks, Logan Martin, Ali Akay, Ariel Badenhop, James J. Peck, Jen Brown, Kurt Rauf, Michael Kallio, Adam Boyd
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Out in the tiny town of Gold Lick, there is trouble afoot: one of its citizens doesn't like Bruce Campbell movies! Teenage Jeff (Taylor Sharpe) is horrified to hear his best friend speak this way about his cinematic hero, and tells him so, but they patch up their differences by agreeing that Bubba Ho-Tep was good. What's more important right now is that they get to the local, disused Chinese graveyard to meet a couple of girls, but when they arrive Jeff can't get anywhere with his date, even with his best Bruce lines. No matter, as he accidentally releases a Chinese demon that decapitates his friends - who can he turn to for help?

Not to be confused with They Call Me Bruce?, a different movie altogether, this was cult star Bruce Campbell's self-directed tribute to, well, himself. And who better to offer his fans such a thing than the man who knows his appeal better than anyone, although the script was written by Mark Verheiden, who had worked on the likes of Smallville, Battlestar Galactica and Heroes on television. Mr Verheiden appeared to have also spent an uncanny amount of time watching Campbell movies, judging by the wealth of references to them here, proving that the filmmakers knew their audience.

Although Campbell, playing himself, is the hero in this, he's not actually built up as some kind of idol to be worshipped. When we first encounter him, he's acting in some awful straight to DVD science fiction horror and getting paid to put a little conviction into his cheesy dialogue. He behaves like an obnoxious showbiz monster on the set, and is barely tolerant of his followers as he brushes off their questions and can't wait to get to the nearest bar to drink away his sorrows about the way his career has ended up. The main reason this is not offputting is because we viewers are well aware that the real Campbell is such a goodnatured guy that we can appreciate the spoofing.

And besides, the script may make him something of an idiot, but does not entirely go along with it, giving him highly amusing lines to fire off in all directions so that for all his inebriated and boorish antics, the actor's charisma shines through. We're in on the joke, you see, so when the film develops into what looks like the kind of minutely budgeted schlock that the star has spent too much of his time in, it almost reaches a weird postmodernist plane where yes, Bruce Campbell is playing himself, but is also the star of a crummy monster movie, yet additionally knows that we know that he knows that it's all a big giggle.

The movie Campbell is kidnapped by Jeff and taken to Gold Lick, where he is expected to destroy the demon which is decapitating the citizens with great enthusiasm. However, he believes this is all a set up for a new movie that his agent (Ted Raimi in one of three roles) has given to him as a birthday present, and he's delighted to meet Jeff's single mother Kelly (Grace Thorsen) who he tries to dazzle with his celebrity status; needless to say, she is deeply unimpressed until, what do you know, the Bruce charm wins her over by the time he has had the chance to save the day and prove himself not to be the coward everyone thought he was. Any fans watching will need no such persuasion, having been won over from the start, so although it's a modest enterprise My Name is Bruce is truly engaging for allowing you to be part of the gag - and many of the lines are very funny even if you're not an enthusiast of the man's work. Music by Joseph LoDuca.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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