the Thinking Chicks Guide to Movies

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Thinner (1996)

Reviewed on 2008 February 12

Truly stupid — no, scratch that — stoooooooooooooopid adaptation of a novel about a portly lawyer who runs over a gypsy and gets acquitted because of who he knows. As a result, he incurs a curse that for the first chunk of the movie mimics a weird macrobiotic diet and too much Hoodia more than impending doom.

Billy Halleck (Robert John Burke in bad fat makeup) is a well-to-do, well-padded attorney who is, shall we say, distracted by his wife Heidi (Lucinda Jenney) while they’re driving home one night. The audience is distracted too, because I think Billy looks less like an attorney and more like Martin Short in his Glick garb, but at least Billy enjoys himself. He’s so preoccupied he runs over an elderly gypsy woman and because of his rank in the town, escapes any punishment.

The gypsy patriarch, Tadzu Lemke (Michael Constantine) is so enraged he hunts Billy down to put a one-word curse on him: “Thinner”. ¬†At this point many women would be thinking “Bring it!” because Billy eats like a herd of swine and the weight melts off him. He progresses from porcine to average to way-past-heroin-chic (good makeup here, actually) and the weight still flies off. He can’t get Tadzu or anyone from Tadzu’s clan to reverse the curse. The old gypsy has been busy, laying hexes on the judge that make Billy’s problem look like a gift. The only person he can turn to before he literally melts to nothing is his shady friend Richie Ginelli (Joe Mantegna).

This was a Stephen King novel written under his pseudonom Richard Bachman. The novel was interesting but this was a mixed bag of a movie. Burke and Mantegna were great but I had a hard time buying much of the rest of the cornball acting. Burke’s makeup as the weight slid off was convincing; the judge who got the worst of Lemke’s anger looked like a grade-Z ’50s sci-fi movie. And gypsies? I’m a short, pale blonde and if Kevin Aucoin took a crack at me he could’ve made me look more like a Rom woman. Michael Constantine was very natural and believable (not to mention lovable) as the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Whose idea was it to have him laugh like Buddy Hackett?

I’m still going to give this a morsel, because it was so stupid it was actually entertaining.



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