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Breakfast Of Champions


Breakfast Of Champions

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It's possible that there's a director less suited to adapting Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast Of Champions than Alan Rudolph. Belly's Hype Williams, for example, would probably be worse, and neither Michael Bay nor Aaron Norris (Top Dog) would probably be up to the task, either. That said, Rudolph, who specializes in making gentle, wistful, swooningly romantic films about beautiful losers, is a terrible choice to adapt Vonnegut's bleak, misanthropic satire of mid-American suburban hell for the big screen. Nearly everybody in Breakfast is either openly insane or on the verge of insanity, and that seems to include Rudolph, who apparently lost control of his senses as preparation for making this surreally awful wreck. Bruce Willis stars as a wealthy but deeply unhappy car dealer who plunges into insanity as his nightmarish existence spirals out of control. Nick Nolte flails about as Willis' tormented employee in the worst, most over-the-top depiction of transvestitism since Ed Wood's turn in Glen Or Glenda, while Albert Finney completes the trilogy of embarrassingly hammy lead performances as Vonnegut's ornery surrogate Kilgore Trout. For reasons known only to Rudolph, Breakfast Of Champions is filmed and acted with a comedic touch so heavy-handed and campy that it seems inspired more by Hee Haw than the novel. Everything here is cartoonish and oversized, and Rudolph seems to have told all of his actors to give the same overwrought performance. There are worse movies, but it's hard to think of one that puts quite so many talented and smart people (Glenne Headly, Barbara Hershey, Lukas Haas, Omar Epps, Buck Henry, Owen Wilson, cinematographer Elliot Davis) at the service of something so worthless.