There's nothing worse than a movie that you look forward to that ends up letting you down. I remember being really angry whilst watching the 98 "Godzilla" in theaters. Being let down when I saw "Diary of the Dead." I should be used to this by now. But when the early word and trailer for Quentin Dupieux's movie "Rubber"-a film about a killer tire named Robert-I thought to myself "Okay, this looks like it's going to be great." I mean, with a premise like that, how can you go wrong? Answer: by making a movie that's not as funny as it should be (though there are some laughs along the way) and ultimately too smug and pointless for it's own good.
The film starts out with a man (Stephen Spinella) telling the audience about how so many things in movies occur for no reason, and that this is a movie dedicated to "no reason" before he gives binoculars to a group of spectators who then watch the adventures of Robert as if they were a movie. Also, Robert falls for a sexy woman named Sheila (Roxane Mesquida), and after seeing some of his tire brethren being burned, decides to take his anger out at the rest of the world. Oh, and he can blow things up (particularly people's heads) via telekinesis. Oh, and there's a guy called The Accountant (Jack Plotnick) whose up to no good.
Why is he up to no good? You're guess is as good as mine, as the movie never explains it. While I'm aware that the theme of the movie is "no reason", it ultimately amounts to "no point." Much of the movie feels like it was made without any purpose, and the whole thing ends up feeling less like a meta-satire than it does a rather dull prank that's too in love with itself. It's a movie that thinks it's really clever by having people stand like they are spectators to a movie, but after a while, the whole "no reason" factor takes away a lot of the fun, and feels like a poor gimmick that's disguised as being smart and saying something when it ultimately means nothing.
I won't lie however, when I say that I did get some laughs out of this movie. The laughs I did get came from the general absurdity of several situations (Robert the tire watching TV, falling in love, killing people, taking a shower, etc.) that the movie commits itself to, and I gotta say that I applaud writer/director Dupieux for sticking with such a wacky premise, even though he ends up hurting it with the entire "no reason" theme. Also, it's always nice to see veteran character actor Wings Hauser, and he's a lot of fun whenever he shows up. The highlight however, is a scene revolving around a mannequin that was the funniest moment in the movie, and is impossible to hate.
Speaking of hate, I can't hate this movie, because it tries to be something different and succeeds. The problem though, is that the something different isn't all that involving or fun. It's mostly just ponderous and frustrating.