My Name Is Bruce (2007)

Rating: C-

Dir: Bruce Campbell
Star: Bruce Campbell, Taylor Sharpe, Grace Thorsen, Ted Raimi

I’ve seen quite a number of films that manage to skate by on Bruce Campbell being Bruce Campbell, his personality and screen presence shoring things up when other factors have been embarrassingly weak. However, this film shows that it’s not possible for him to carry a film built solely around his charisma. In the town of Goldlick, teenage Campbell fan Jeff (Sharpe) accidentally releases a pissed-off Chines god of the dead (and tofu, apparently) from a local cemetery. He turns to his hero, kidnapping Campbell and taking him to Goldlick so he can deal with the menace.

Bruce thinks it’s a birthday surprise from his agent (Raimi) – so plays along, until Campbell discovers he is actually up against a real pissed-off Chinese god of the dead, when he flees the scene. Will he discover his “inner Ash” in time to save Jeff and the rest of Goldlick’s citizens? The concept here most obviously echoes Three Amigos, but this doesn’t quite succeed as well, largely I suspect down to Campbell being at the helm as well as starring. It’s not his first stab at directing – he did Man with the Screaming Brain previously – but there’s not much indication he picked up a lot of directorial talent from his years hanging out with Sam Raimi.

It’s cloyingly predictable, and none of the supporting characters are anywhere near strong enough to inhabit the same film as Campbell. There are some amusing moments, where he pokes fun at both himself and genre fandom, but the concept and execution here are almost entirely “meh”, and seeing Raimi play a Chinese character was borderline offensive. This failed to such a level that both myself and Chris fell asleep at different points in proceedings. Given we both have a long, deeply-held fondness for Campbell, that probably tells you a great deal about its appeal to anyone outside the inner circle of Bruce devotees.