Schizopolis | Chicago Reader

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Writer-director Steven Soderbergh (Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Kafka, King of the Hill, The Underneath) tries his hand at outrageous screwball comedy, with very mixed results. Playing the lead part himself and shooting with a cast of unknowns in Louisiana, where he grew up, he proceeds largely by peppering his dialogue with various non sequiturs and stretches of nonsense (“pacifist cottage . . . Belgian disregard . . . nose army . . . Vienna dog” is one fair sample) and bad puns (“I may vote Republican,” says a dentist, “but I'm a firm believer in gum control”) and throwing in irreverent asides (“No fish was harmed during the making of this film,” reads an opening title, and one sign posted to a tree reads, “Idea missing”). Given the audacity, it would be a pleasure to report that the results are hilarious, but most of it isn't even funny, and the sense of “anything goes” hangs heavy over the film as it develops. An authentic curiosity, but proceed at your own risk.

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