16 February 2003 | Infofreak
Calling this a comedy is gross misrepresentation! A totally unfunny, weird, self indulgent boring mess of a movie.
I only know Adam Rifkin as the director of the unforgettable 'Detroit Rock City', and wasn't aware of this earlier effort of his until it was recommended to me by a buddy as a "VERY weird movie". And it is VERY weird, no doubt about it. But it is also very dumb, very boring, very gross and TOTALLY devoid of any laughs whatsoever. 'The Dark Backward' is set in a strangely stylized surreal world somewhere between Pee-wee Herman, 'Repo Man', and 'Motorama', but without the wit and entertainment value of any of them. It also at times (e.g. Bill Paxton making out with a corpse found on a garbage dump) almost a precursor to 'Freddy Got Fingered' in its lame attempts at outrage and bad taste. Judd Nelson, an actor I loathe, plays Marty Malt, a painfully unfunny comedian encouraged by his loudmouth accordion playing buddy Gus (Paxton). Both are inept garbage collectors, though Marty is as introverted as Gus is extroverted. Things don't go too well for Marty until he begins to grow an arm out of his back. Yes, that's right, an arm. He then gets management from talent agent Jackie Chrome (Wayne Newton!) and things begin to look up career-wise, even though his girlfriend (Lara Flynn Boyle) dumps him, and his invalid mother (Anna Berger) can't even bear to look at him. This utterly idiotic movie rambles on and on, Nelson bores the pants off you, Paxton becomes increasingly more irritating as the movie "progresses", and there are cameos by actors that should have known better (I mean, James Caan! C'mon, this must be a real career lowpoint for him.). This is an awful movie by any standards, ane of the worst so-called comedies I've ever sat through. Amazingly enough Rifkin's career wasn't killed stone dead after this turkey! Highly UNrecommended!