The Lawnmower Man (1992)

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Brett Leonard directs Jeff Fahey, Pierce Brosnan and Jenny Wright in this dated VR take on Flowers for Algernon.

A hot mess, one that starts boldly with Pierce stating matter of factly “That’s the best chimp I’ve ever had.” This was never going to be a quality two hours but did The Lawnmower Man really need to be quite so awful? Uncertain as to what it is; a surburban set slasher, a brutalist sci-fi or a lurid southern bit of gothic means the only stand out sequence is that chimp’s attempted escape told disconcertingly from the primate’s point of view. Everything else is a sickly gumbo of differing cinematography, listless plot lines and obtuse acting styles (everyone is trying an accent) with only Pierce’s nascent star power adding any smooth to all the sharp edges. He amusingly loses more and more clothes every time he dictates his experiment notes… Take these small pleasures where you can. Fahey fails to convince either as retard or genius, in fact the shift between the two is barely noticeable. The selling point CGI FX sequences are only groundbreaking in that it was the first time someone tried to get away with work this cheap and nasty using the new technology. Inept but as this ages further that might increase its charm. At the moment it stands proud as probably the most WTF wide release in cinema history.

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