CINEMA: Let It Rainn


SALON: Gunn has described “Super” as an adaptation of William James’ “The Varieties of Religious Experience,” complete with superhero costumes and comic violence, and he’s not kidding about that nearly as much as you’d think. Another way of translating it might be to say that Gunn has taken the loser-hipster characters from “Ghost World” and transported them into the splatterific, grade-C genre universe of Troma Films. “Super” stars Rainn Wilson (best known as Dwight from TV’s “The Office”) as Frank, a hapless fry cook in some nameless, R. Crumb-style Middle American city. […] [A] divine intervention leads Frank to buy some red fabric, learn to sew and reinvent himself as the Crimson Bolt, a deranged crime-fighter who wreaks vengeance on Jacques and his ilk. And on yuppies who cut in line at the movies. By beating them half to death with a monkey wrench. And did I mention his dangerously crazy nympho sidekick? Yeah, in case we don’t think that slow-burning, chronically unhappy Frank, with his ridiculous costume, his outbursts of unearned violence against random strangers and his stupid catchphrase — “Shut up, crime!” — is enough of a nutjob, there’s always his sidekick. That would be Libby (Ellen Page), the comic-store geek-girl who figures out the Crimson Bolt’s secret identity and nominates herself as Boltie, his “kid sidekick” and potential sex partner. Gunn seems to have conceived of Libby as a challenge, or a series of challenges, and Page embraces them with overamped gusto: Can a small, pretty young woman be presented not just as an Asperger-like misfit prone to inappropriate outbursts and a sexual aggressor but also as a borderline sociopath? MORE

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