Saturday, June 19, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions; Satire, USA, 1999; D: Alan Rudolph, S: Bruce Willis, Nick Nolte, Albert Finney, Lukas Haas, Barbara Hershey, Glenne Headley, Omar Epps, Vicki Lewis, Owen Wilson

In Midland City, Dwayne Hoover plans to kill himself, but is interrupted when his maid brings him breakfast. He is a car salesman starring in many commercials and is popular, but suffers from depression because his wife is addicted to pills, his son is a wacky musician, his assistant Harry wears woman's clothes whereas African-American Wayne Hoobler wants a job in his company because their names are similar. Dwayne sees no sense in his life and starts an affair. At the same time, science-fiction writer Kilgore Trout travels through Midland City to attend a ceremony. When the two of the meet, Kilgore tells him about his story from his novel, in which the creator created the Universe as an experiment and that all people, except him, are robots. Kilgore enters into his novel through a mirror whereas Dwayne returns to his family.

Bizarre and confusing satire, an adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's novel with the same title, "Breakfast of Champions" is too empty and chaotic to be a good film - even Altman and Bergman made films about nothing, yet even they had some sense and said a lot about some aspects of human life. And then again, as many critics noted, Vonnegut's novels are really difficult to adapt to the big screens. Here, director Alan Rudolph leads actors against their typecast: Bruce Willis wears glasses and is depressive (though the role was not handled well) whereas Nick Nolte's character likes to wear a dress. Unusual, but without humor, style or sense, just with nervous babble, though some psychedelic moments are quite inventive and original, like when the brain and the thoughts of the hero are shown or when a person on a bill starts to talk. The satire is hopelessly lost in what it wants to say, which is why the film is a hassle, though it is easily watchable.


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