Rubber (2010)

The Film You Are About To See Today is an Homage to the “No Reason”

Fabio strikes again! Today at work, Fabio was struck by satanic intervention and remembered a movie that he wanted to force me to watch. All I knew about the movie ahead of time is that it had a tire on it’s cover. He knew a little bit more, knowing that it was about a killer tire. Neither of us knew what he would be getting me into. But, it was available on Netflix streaming, and he did suggest it, so I watched it. Today’s review will be for a movie called Rubber, written and directed by Quentin Dupieux, and starring Stephen Spinella, Jack Plotnick, Robert the tire, Roxane Mesquida, David Bowe, Remy Thorne, Wings Hauser, Ethan Cohn, and Charley Koontz.

What you are about to read is not a joke. Well, it may be a joke, but it was over my head. What I mean is I am actually telling you the story of this movie with no embellishment, but I will also spoil it. Lieutenant Chad (Stephen Spinella) pulls up to the camera and delivers a speech about how things in movies don’t make sense. He then drives away leaving an accountant (Jack Plotnick) to hand out binoculars to a group of people including a man in a wheelchair (Wings Hauser) and two movie fans (Ethan Cohn and Charley Koontz). The group of people turn their attention to the distance, and we join them in watching a tire (Robert, not a joke) stand up on it’s own and roll around, falling down occasionally as it learns to … walk? It also seems to be a bit sadistic as it rolls over a plastic bottle and a scorpion for no reason. When it finds it can’t crush a glass bottle, it discovers that it can cause things to explode by vibrating. It then sets out looking for adventure. It comes across a girl named Sheila (Roxane Mesquida) and follows her to a hotel, where it starts watching TV. In the morning, it kills the cleaning lady (Tara Jean O’Brien). This brings Lieutenant Chad back into the picture to investigate. A young boy (Remy Thorne) saw the tire move by itself, but his dad (David Bowe) won’t hear any of it. Back at the spectators, the accountant brings them a turkey after they’ve been out there for two days, but it’s been poisoned and they all die. All but the man in the wheelchair. He didn’t eat. Lieutenant Chad thinks the movie should be over because the spectators are dead, but the accountant tells him that one is still alive, so the movie must continue. The tire continues on it’s killing spree as the accountant tries to get the man in the wheelchair to eat some poisoned food, but he won’t. The accountant gets to watching the tire and forgets about the food, eating some himself and dying. Eventually, and with the help of Sheila, Lieutenant Chad lures the tire out of a house it was in. The man in the wheelchair interrupts, telling them that their ending could be better. Lieutenant Chad gets annoyed, goes inside, and kills the tire with a shotgun. He then tosses the tire at the man in the wheelchair and says “The End”. OR IS IT?! Nope. The tire is reincarnated as a tricycle and kills the man in the wheelchair, then it starts going to Hollywood, collecting more tires on the way, leading to the inevitable Rise of the Planet of the Tires sequel.

I am so fucking serious right now when I say every word of that (even the fact that the tire apparently shares my name, or so the credits say) was the truth. That is what I just watched. Even stranger than that is the fact that the movie was not horrible, but was super far away from good. This movie has a few things in common with Thankskilling (which you may have read my earlier review for), but differs in that it looked good, had some interesting effects, and one or two laughs. But, having anything in common with Thankskilling is not a compliment. The idea of the movie was interesting enough for a little bit. They were very up front with how ridiculous the concept of their movie was, but opening the movie talking about much better movies that just didn’t answer EVERY question that could be asked about it does not give you license to make your movie completely nonsensical. Yeah, one of the Texas Chainsaw Massacres chose not to show the characters using the restroom or washing their hands, but your movie was about a tire that killed people for an audience. It was kind of novel in the beginning that we were like one of the spectators watching this movie, so it kind of broke the fourth wall. But then it kept doing it over and over again so that it more broke the fourth wall, kicked it in the dick, and peed on it. I think I was already finding it annoying about 20 minutes in. Also, it seemed as if they came up with the idea for the murderous tire, but then immediately realized it was lame, so they bookended it with a group of hipsters talking about how lame it was. But here’s the thing: it was lame, and you still made it. Adding those people in there is just tedious and more lame. It’s vaguely clever, but it’s just not very good. I really have no interest in watching a tire watch TV for 10 minutes. But, this movie did a couple things well. It looked good, for instance. I feel like anybody should be able to make a pretty good looking movie nowadays as you can walk into a Best Buy and purchase an HD camcorder without breaking the bank. But the effects were also pretty good. The creatures exploding were somewhat realistic, and I found myself watching and paying particular attention to try to figure out how they made the tire and the tricycle move by themselves. I assume some sort of animatronic was involved. Also, the music in some parts seemed to either really want to annoy me, or like it was rejected from a Zelda game.

The performances were okay, but nothing really special. Stephen Spinella did a decent job playing a straight cop and then turning into a person who knew what was going on and wasn’t taking the movie seriously, then getting annoyed that he had to keep going. Jack Plotnick was decent as the fidgety accountant, but it’s also the character I’d already seen him play in Reno 911. Wings Hauser didn’t have to do a lot of legwork as the guy in a wheelchair (yeah, thems a good pun right there), but he performed adequately. Everyone performed pretty adequately. Roxane Mesquida didn’t seem to speak English very well though.

This is a movie I can recommend you skip. It’s pretty ridiculous, slightly clever, but just not very good. It looks decent, and the performances aren’t bad, but there’s just no reason to sit through an hour and a half of this movie. It seemed like they were trying to talk me out of watching their movie for the bulk of the movie, and that being the case, I recommend you take their advice. Even though you can stream it on Netflix, you can also stream something else and use your time better. Rubber gets “The way I look at it, this scene makes no sense at all” out of “Hey wait. It’s not the end. He’s been reincarnated as a tricycle.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!