Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Naked Man

One of the most amazing things about Joel and Ethan Coen is that the extraordinary risks they take have never resulted in a movie that's less than fascinating or entertaining. But for anyone wishing to see what a bad Coen movie would look like, here's The Naked Man. Co-written by Ethan Coen, The Naked Man is otherwise the product of first-time writer-director J. Todd Anderson, who has worked as the Coens' storyboard artist since Raising Arizona. Affable Michael Rapaport stars as a good-natured, extremely talented chiropractor who employs a Slim Goodbody-like jumpsuit to moonlight as a professional wrestler under the name "The Naked Man." All seems to be going well until Rapaport loses his drug-store-owning parents (and apparently his wife) to an evil pharmaceutical tycoon with spinal problems (Michael Jeter) and his Elvis-like sidekick. Maybe it looked good on paper or as a series of storyboard concepts, but there's scarcely a moment of The Naked Man that won't test viewers' patience, from Rapaport's crazed speech about the role of proper spinal health as it relates to good and evil to a seemingly 20-minute take in which grizzled cop Joe Grifasi attempts to prepare coffee. The Naked Man looks like a Coen movie, and feels a bit like one, too, but even if the Coens occasionally engage in quirkiness as an end to itself, they've never made a film that doesn't balance that tendency in a dozen other ways. Quirks and nothing else, The Naked Man has virtually nothing going for it, even if it does break the decades-long drought of chiropracty-oriented humor.


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