The next couple weeks are a big deal for Russell Crowe fans like myself with the high def release of Gladiator, State of Play, and one of my all time favorite westerns The Quick and the Dead. So I figured I'd commemorate the occasion with some refaced Russell Crowe reviews that have been slowly rotting away over at the once grand Rotten Tomatoes. Also the following review happened to be my 50th written back in December of 2005, if anyone other than myself happens to care.
What better way to mark my 50th review than with one of the strangest films I have ever seen starring my all-time favorite actor! I have been awaiting the viewing of Rough Magic for sometime now, mainly due to the fact I'm a huge Russell Crowe fan and the synopsis of this film truly appeared unique compared to anything he's done before. Well the word unique probably doesn't do this film justice. Bridget Fonda plays Myra, a magicians assistant, whose engaged to a soon to be Senator, that is until he kills Fonda's closest friend, the magician. With his last breath the magician requests that Myra travel to Mexico, search for one of the last remaining witch doctors, and discover the great ability that she possesses. Along this quest she realizes she has more amazing powers than she could ever believe possible. Russell Crowe plays the Private Investigator, Alex Ross, sent by her fiancé to find her and bring her back, but falling in love with her was never part of his job.
Don't let the big names fool you into thinking this film was some big hit, Russell Crowe, Bridget Fonda, and for some reason they threw in Martin Scorsese into the opening credits, as if he had something to do with this. The story is totally outrageous with no limits and no boundaries; the writing is so bad that Fonda comes off as an emotionless zombie and Crowe is a bad crooner out of the 1940's. But the redeeming quality of this film is it becomes so bad that it actually begins to become very amusing. I truly believe this film was supposed to be a comedy, why it's listed as a drama I'll never understand because there's nothing remotely close to dramatic about it. That is unless you consider the transformation of a guy into a large sausage, or Bridget Fonda laying an egg with a tarantula inside dramatic; then quite dramatic it is!
Typically bad films are quite difficult to sit through without falling asleep or ripping your eyes out of their sockets. But watching Rough Magic, after midnight even, I had plenty of opportunities to fall asleep, but the acting and the story is so corny that I had to see what would happen next. Overall, there's nothing inherently great about Rough Magic, but it's a film that's so insanely odd that it can't be helped but be enjoyed in some bizarre manner. Maybe you have to be a Crowe follower to truly enjoy its eccentric qualities, or maybe it's just seeing Crowe prior to hitting it big in an unusually bad film that makes Rough Magic enticing; whatever it is I couldn't help but stay glued to it. In the end, it's so hard to explain the strangeness that you have to see it to believe it, its definitely a memorable film, and worth a rent if your truly looking for something wildly bizarre. And remember to keep in mind while your watching that this is a drama!