Reviews: Buddy Hutchins

In a case of the actor is better than the movie, Andrew reviews Jamie Kennedy in Buddy Hutchins.

"How did I end up here? Nevermind.
Prepare to die."
Every now and again, a bad movie with either a great or otherwise unique performance comes around.  Films like House on Haunted Hill with Geoffrey Rush doing a spin on Vincent Price crossed with John Waters come to mind.  In the case of Buddy Hutchins, writer-director Jared Cohn’s dour and misguided retread of Joel Schumacher’s 1993 Michael Douglas vengeance picture Falling Down, Jamie Kennedy is the actor in question.  

Ordinarily cast in comic roles, the idea of the goofy and meek looking Kennedy turning over a murderous alcoholic couldn’t be more remote on paper.  Because we’re not ready to accept such a notion, the casting works all the more for a role which allows Kennedy to present himself in a light never seen before.  It’s too bad all his hard effort will disappear within the mire that ultimately is Buddy Hutchins.

Technically, Buddy Hutchins is pretty lousy.  From the onset, low budget production values, cinematography that inexplicably drifts in and out of focus coupled with jagged editing don’t bode well for what is clearly a no-budget effort.  There’s something to be said for how many rooms in both Buddy’s home and his peers look half-furnished and barren.  Unprofessional technical merits aside, the real reason to see Buddy Hutchins, if at all, is to behold Jamie Kennedy the serial murderer.  Seeing the bright comic gradually devolved into dishevelment before being covered in blood and scars is a sight for sore eyes and much like Steve Zahn’s turn in Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn, the performance is a revelation of the comic actor’s dramatic abilities.  Still, you know your film is the real problem when you can fill Buddy’s shoes with any actor and the end result is still an overextended exercise in depressing exploitation.

"Like my suit? No. Meet my chainsaw."
Unlike the infinitely greater revenge drama Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Buddy Hutchins is cheap trash and time wasted.  What could have been an engaging character study is just a thick skulled hunk of ultraviolence for gore hounds. Tonally, Buddy Hutchins isn’t sure where its attitude lies, occasionally lifting the downbeat veil for heavy metal clearly rooting for the needless bloodshed obviously purported by a sociopath.  Spoiler free, the ending is such a total copout that actually negates all the wrongdoing that preceded it.  This was not fun or interesting to look at and it mistakenly wants us to side with an unmitigated monster who completely deserves his downtrodden lot in life.  

Other than giving Jamie Kennedy the benefit of the doubt as a potentially credible dramatic actor, Buddy Hutchins is better off avoided altogether.

-Andrew Kotwicki