My Name Is Bruce (2007)

I, initially, had very high hopes for My Name Is Bruce. I mean, a film in which Bruce Campbell plays Bruce Campbell and is forced into a real life ‘Evil Dead’ type situation? What could possibly go wrong? Unfortunately, the more I heard about the film, and the increased number of delays to it’s theatrical release, made my high expectations dwindle fast.

The plot could not be simpler, although to non-Bruce fans, the whole movie might be a little perplexing. There is a brief opening gambit involving an ardent teenage fan who inadvertently lets loose an ancient Chinese warrior that wreaks havoc on his small, backwoods town. Feeling like any hope he and his co-inhabitants have of surviving is running out, he turns to the only person he thinks can help; a surly, down-on-his-luck, alcoholic Bruce Campbell. For the first half of the film Campbell goes along with it all, under the false impression that he’s on the set of a new movie and that the threat is artificial. Only when he sees that the townsfolk are actually being picked off one by one does he decide whether or not to rise to a challenge befitting his most famous character; Ash (of Evil Dead fame). Throw in a love interest and an array of colourful peripheral characters and you have what should be a great little B-Movie.

The non-integral characters of My Name Is Bruce seem to fall into one of two categories. They are either characterised quite well or they are utterly cliché-ridden. With regard to the latter category, particular mention has to go to the pair of homosexual gun shop owners who, while looking manly and wearing plaid shirts, recite lines from Brokeback Mountain to one another in an especially puerile and unfunny scene. Ted Raimi, who plays three different minor characters here, seems to have attended ‘The Rob Schneider School Of Vaguely Racist Sterotypes’ and is surprisingly, and sadly, prosaic and vapid in each role.

Campbell himself, however, is a joy to watch as always. His lines are delivered with the same enthusiasm as everything else he’s ever done and his charisma makes him easy to watch. It’s sad then, that he is surrounded by actors who fail to come anywhere close to his innate magnetism and therefore come off as amateurish and mostly un-likeable.

Mark Verheiden stuffed the script with ‘in’ jokes to please the fans, and no doubt it’ll do just that but for the most part the humour is laboured and most attempts fall completely flat. Certain scenes are butt-puckeringly awful and hugely cringe-worthy. Any film starring Bruce Campbell as himself is bound to have a generous dose of wry but corny humour yet Verheiden seems to have concentrated heavily on corny and less on wry, making the whole thing a little unsatisfying.

Despite its ambitious tag of ‘horror-comedy’, I was neither scared nor overly amused during My Name Is Bruce. Considering Campbell not only took the starring role, he directed the film too, I feel like something of a traitor for not liking this more than I did. I consider myself something of a Bruce Campbell fan but I have to admit, I like him a fraction less than I used to for having watched this movie. Recommended only for die-hard fans and Campbell completists, everyone else would do better to watch his earlier work and steer clear of this altogether.

Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

2 Comments on “My Name Is Bruce”

  1. Dave Scullion says:

    I totally agree. Even The Man With The Screaming Brain was funnier than this… and that says something.

    What I found upsetting was that it had such potential to be a laugh-riot but ended up being luke-warm at best.

    A shame really.

    Oh well, we can only hope Spiderman 4 provides him a better role…

  2. Jamie Carruthers says:

    Word on the street is that his role in spiderman 4 is going to be a lot bigger than his previous Spiderman roles.

    This excites me.

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