Domestic Disturbance (2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This is a "stepdad from hell" movie, starring Vince Vaughn as the creep, and John Travolta as his archnemesis, the real dad from heaven.

Vaughn is a rich and beloved citizen who marries Travolta's ex, and things go OK for a while until Steve Buscemi comes into town. Buscemi's movie appearance always causes major alerts in a small town, particularly among local dentists. Man, what is the deal on his teeth? Don't the studios provide a dental plan? Anyway, it turns out the Buscemi is evil (surprised?), and that he and Vaughn used to be evil compadres back in the day, even sharing some time in The Big House.



Buscemi is not really a happy camper, because he is penniless while his former partner-in-crime, Mr Vaughn, seems to own most of Maryland's Eastern Shore. He would like his cut. Vaughn says, "sure, buddy" and gives the dumb bastard a ride out to a remote location, where the money is supposed to be hidden. Vaughn says, "sure, pal, there's the money now. Right in this oven. Here, take a look". Buscemi is clearly not the brightest crayola in the box, and Vaughn is soon Hansel-and-Greteling him into the tandoori, converting him into the makings of a future Beef Vindaloo.

One big problem for the Vinster. The little stepson hid in the car and witnessed the entire fricasseeing process. That is so NOT money.

Now it's gonna get ugly.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen anamorphic 2.35:1

  • deleted scenes

  • full-length commentary and minor features

The critics roasted this film even worse than Vaughn roasted Buscemi, but I found it to be very educational. For example, after the kid reported the murder, the police naturally ran a background check in the Vinster and found nothing. But John Travolta easily managed to uncover Vaughn's prior life by using the internet.

Thank God for those search engines.

No if we could only train our police to use them.

In the future, there will be no police detectives, only police tough guys. All crimes will be solved by computer nerds, who will then inform the real police. The NYPD will only need a few grunts, whose entire job will be to pick up the baddies at the precise location which the nerds have pinpointed. Expect a big drop in your taxes. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: one and a half stars. Ebert 1.5/4, Berardinelli 1/4, BBC 2/5.

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: it grossed $45 million, which sounds pretty good until you realize it was budgeted at $53 million. the studios needed a hundred million gross from it.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. Watchable if it shows up on late night cable, but don't go out of your way to get it. It is unoriginal, and the denouement is ludicrous.

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