Credentials: 68% Certified Fresh (Rottentomatoes.com) / 59 out of 100 (Metacritic.com) / 5.8 out of 10 (Imdb.com)
Plot: An abandoned tire wakes up in the middle of the desert and discovers it possesses telekinetic powers. It rolls around for a bit, doing all the things your average tire with psychic powers does until it stumbles upon--- and eventually becomes obsessed with--- a mysterious woman. So the tire follows the mystery lady around, leaving some fun and gory destruction in its wake. And all this happens under the watchful eyes of an in-movie audience. We get to watch the in-movie audience as they watch the events of the movie unfold. It’s all very Meta. Abed from “Community” level Meta.
Thoughts: Well color me disappointed.
First off, let me start by warning you not go into “Rubber” expecting to see a horror comedy about a killer tire. Because despite what my plot summary and every other one you read tells you, the movie is NOT about the tire.
Nope, the real show is the so-called audience members.
The killer tire ends up fighting for screen time with this meta-audience. We spend more time watching them sleep and wander the desert with binoculars than we do watching hardcore, psychic Goodyear carnage.
“Rubber” had all the makings of a kickass horror spoof. And not a “Scary Movie” spoof either, but an honest to god funny and insightful criticism of a genre. Writer/director Quentin Dupieux pays homage to horror classics like “Psycho,” “Carrie” and “Scanners” but seems unwilling to go whole hog.
He wades into the spoof pool, but never makes it past his ankles, relying on his gimmicky Meta audience like a little kid relies on swimmies.
Occasionally, we get to watch the audience members in the movie describe action scenes to us. “This is actually pretty awesome” says one. Great. Yeah, wish I was watching the local cops chase down a murderous tire, but instead I’m listening to some idiot with binoculars tell me about said chase scene.
Now, I’m sure Dupieux had some highfalutin, English-major ideas about analyzing the relationship between an audience and the movie they’re watching. That’s all well and good, but I’d never in a million years sit down and watch that movie. Don’t trick me into giving up my hard-earned dough by pretending your artsy movie is actually something else entirely.
As the end credits rolled, I felt like a dog who just realized there was a heartworm pill in that juicy piece of ham he just ate. Duped. And unlike the dog, I wasn’t better off as a result of the trickery. No, just $3.99 poorer.
“Rubber” isn’t all bad. Certainly Dupieux has some talent as a filmmaker. I just wish he would use his clever and witty sensibilities for something a little more accessible. Or that he’d go back and do some George Lucas caliber tinkering with “Rubber.”
The highlight of the movie--- outside of the concept itself--- is Stephen Spinella who plays Lt. Chad. Spinella is an absolute crazy person. He brings a manic, mischievous energy to every scene he’s in and is a real treat; despite the fact his character makes no sense whatsoever.
You see, Lt. Chad exists essentially in two places at once in the world of the film. He actively participates in the killer tire storyline, AND hangs out with the audience and comments on how the story isn’t real.
Lt. Chad is the movie’s Meta nature personified. If it wasn’t for Spinella’s over-the-top performance, I’d have hated the character because I never was really sure what he was supposed to be doing or why.
I’m not sure if anything I just wrote made any sense. I did my best to explain what took place in “Rubber,” but I’m not sure I got it all. Heed my warning: Campy fun this is NOT!
:06- Hey it’s Fat Neil from “Community!” Holy crap does Abed know you’re here? He’d love this garbage.
:26- The hotel is called the “Easy Rest Inn.” Is there any way to rest difficultly? I feel like any degree of difficulty immediately makes something the opposite of resting.
:27- Pretty girl, staying at a seedy, middle-of-nowhere hotel. Yeah seems like a great idea to take a shower with your front door not only unlocked, but wide open. God not even Minka Kelly would play a character this dumb… then again…
:35- Poor tire. He was just trying to look his best
:50- This movie’s tagline should have been: “Because we can, that’s why. Not sit down and shut up.”
1:04- Is NASCAR like porn but for tires? I’m just trying to get to the heart of this scene…
1:18- Wow. It takes real skill to make a 78 minute movie seem at least twice as long as it needed to be
The great Stephen Spinella. Plus, this scene should give you some idea of just what "Rubber" really is
A movie about a killer tire seemed destined for B-movie greatness. Instead, its heavy-handed, art house pretense got in the way of what could have been a rollicking good time.