Hands-Down Fun

Idle Hands is billed as "the touching story of a boy and his right hand." Now, I know what you're thinking and no, this is not a movie about that. Such a topic would have been far too tasteful for these guys.

The actual film, a comedic tale reminiscent of such supernatural horror flicks as Night of the Living Dead, is filled with over-the-top violence and gore, not to mention plenty of gross-out humor and a good number of scantily-clad high school prom queens.

But here's the real shocker: Idle Hands is actually a pretty good movie.

The rather ludicrous plot centers on Anton Tobias (Devon Sawa), a 17 years-old whose only ambition is to sit around watching TV and smoking pot. One day Anton's hand becomes possessed by a psychotic killer and try as he might, he can't stop it from killing everything and everyone in his sight. Anton's pesky appendage even offs his good-for-nothing friends (Seth Green and Elden Henson), but don't worry--they quickly return as undead.

Understandably disturbed by all of this, Anton cuts off his possessed part. Unfortunately, the liberated hand them sets out on its own to slay Anton's newly-found girlfriend (Jessica Alba) and rampage a school dance in the process. See, it all makes perfect sense.


Actually, the absurdity of this film is quite intentional-the writers, director, and actors all embrace it wholeheartedly. So, too, will many viewers: the smart pacing, nimble performances, and wry sense of purpose ease the audience into the right mindset. The unabashedly titillating images and stomach-churning humor somehow seem less offensive when viewed in the film's self-knowing package.

That package includes some good laughs and legitimately chilling moments. Though both a comedy and a horror film, Idle Hands is not so much a derivative send-up a la Scream as it is an all-out joke-fest, mocking itself as much as the genre. Of course, Idle Hands is no masterpiece. The plot borders on thin, the ending is a bit awkward, and some of the jokes feel stale. And, in case you haven't gotten the picture by now, DO NOT bring your grandmother to see this one. Easily offended moviegoers should definitely steer clear.

Still with me? In that case, I'm going to assume you are willing to go along with Idle Hands' many indulgences. If so, you'll probably have a fun ride.

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