Death to Smoochy is a 2002 dark comedy film starring Robin Williams, Edward Norton, and Catherine Keener. It also features Jon Stewart and Danny De Vito, who also directed the film. Death to Smoochy is known for its outwardly vulgar and profane humor, particularly Williams' profound cursing outbursts throughout the film.Williams plays Rainbow Randolph (aka Randolph Smiley), a children's television show host. Onscreen, he is a lovable and friendly character, but in his personal life, he is virtually the antithesis incarnate of himself: rude and irascible with a propensity for violence. Unfortunately for Randolph, his show is canceled after he is caught by the FBI taking bribes from parents to put their kids on his show, and he is replaced by another show featuring a purple anthropomorphic rhino named Smoochy (a clear parody of Barney the Dinosaur), played by Norton.Randolph spirals into depression and poverty, and vows to bring down Smoochy and his show. Throughout the film, Randolph concocts a variety of sadistic and psychotic plots to ruin Smoochy's career, and becomes involved with a gangster named Merv Green (Harvey Fierstein), but his ploys are constantly foiled by the fact that Smoochy really is as sweet and nice as the character he portrays.The film was a commercial and critical bomb, but like most comedies that fall under that category, it has developed a cult following.
This Movie Contains Examples of:
All Men Are Perverts: We think Nora Wells seems to think about males that way, just until Smoochy blows off steam.
Artistic License - Law: The full-scale raid on the Nazi rally. Technically, the police can be called to break up such an assembly if they didn't have a permit to hold it, but performing a police raid on a peaceful Nazi assembly just because it's a Nazi assembly is illegal.
Atomic F-Bomb: Randolph's "Motherfucker!" after discovering that Sheldon and Nora are seeing each other, also counts as a Skyward Scream.
Berserk Button: Anything related to Smoochy ends up as this for Randolph, including a fundraiser to "Save the African Black Rhino."
Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Smoochy's songs. They are all bouncy, upbeat tunes, exactly what you would expect on a children's show. Even the ones he is singing to junkies at a shelter. Do not listen to the words, though.
Contractual Purity: Not in the movie itself, but in-universe; the plot is kicked off when Randolph loses his job by getting caught taking a bribe to get a rich couple's kid to participate in the show. While it's possible that there was some kind of contractual reason he couldn't do that, the only apparent reason for losing the show is that taking a bribe makes him a bad role model.
Smoochy's purity is most likely contractual, seeing as how the producer ordered Frank Stokes to find someone "squeaky FUCKING clean!"
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Played with. Of the dozens of entertainers mentioned as characters in the movie, none of them are real. However, at one point, Randolph refers to Smoochy as a "bastard son of Barney." Also, there are a few implications that Randolph is an expy for Pee-Wee Herman.
Oh Crap: Sheldon's jaw drops when he realizes he's performing at a Nazi rally.
OOC Is Serious Business: After being framed as a Nazi by Randolph, temporarily fired from the show, and finding out that the Coney Island Methadone Clinic was closed, Sheldon is seen eating a cheeseburger. Considering at the beginning of the movie he was eating and actively promoting soybean over greasy foods, this is a pretty clear sign he's depressed.
Sheldon: Oh, you didn't have to get off the phone.
Nora: If I didn't, you'd still be here.
Sheldon: I am still here.
Nora: I'm hoping to correct that.
Running Gag: Randolph slamming into/getting slammed into a wall.
Sad Clown: Zig Zagged. In one sense, Robin Williams is playing his usual role here, as a guy who's jovial on the surface but hurting inside. In another sense, he's playing wildly against type. Rainbow Randolph is less 'sad' than 'fucked-up and mentally unbalanced.'
Senseless Violins: Buggy carries his rifle in a trombone case when trying to assassinate Smoochy at his ice show.
Worst News Judgment Ever: Literally all entertainment news in this movie is about children's TV. Sheldon receiving full creative control over the Smoochy show is on the front page of Variety, for crying out loud!