Movie Review -- 'Tusk' is Creepy, Funny, and Always Amusing
Posted by Robert Grafsgaard on Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM By Robert Grafsgaard / September 18, 2014 Comment
episode 259 of Smith’s SModcast in 2013, and voted into production via the #WalrusYes Twitter campaign shortly thereafter -- the Clerks veteran’s newest effort as feature writer/director proves just as hilariously ridiculous as its premise wants you to believe. Nationally popular podcaster and collector of bizarre human interest stories, Wallace Bryton (Justin Long), follows a lead in Canada after his initial query has gone cold. After chancing upon an ad in a Winnipeg bar bathroom promising tales of adventures at sea, Wallace invites himself to the woodsy Bifrost manse solely inhabited by the dry witted and elderly Howard Howe (Michael Parks). Instead of podcast material, Wallace comes to after a nefarious “spider bite” finding himself down one leg and being told that he will be surgically fashioned into his captor’s serendipitously met companion of a desperate youthhood moment stranded at sea, the walrus Mr. Tusk. From thereon, the tale of Wallace Bryton’s transformation into Mr. Tusk is dark indeed, albeit not without a steady and measured dose of cringeworthy chuckling metered evenly throughout the ninety-minute runtime. Despite Wallace’s gruesome transmutation, Smith peppers the chronological narrative with enough flashback scenes between Wallace and his girlfriend Allison (Genesis Rodriguez) that show him as a callous and inconsiderate egotist, that it was hard to feel sympathetic to his grim reshaping or the emotional anguish at his realization at the impossibility of regaining his corporeal humanity. Such moments of self-reflection allow Wallace to become intimately familiar with the dark side of karma, which thus frees the audience to enjoy the nearly allegorical humor of the situation instead of caring too deeply about the brutal reality of his fate.