The Chaperone (2010) Stephen Harek
I will apologize in advance for this review. I had written this review several months prior when I originally saw it. Somewhere along the way it magically disappeared off my computer (there are several possibilities but for the time being I will go with the magic excuse). So I am writing this from faded memories seeing as how I like to forget some of the movies I’ve seen after I’ve written the review. (in the case of the Chaperone doubly so)
The Chaperone is about Ray (Paul Levesque aka HHH) who is released from prison. Ray is trying to reconnect with his family and become a functioning member of society again. That is difficult for Ray and he soon falls back into his former ways with former gang member Phillip (Kevin Corrigan). Ray, prior to robbing another bank, has a change of heart and hides out on his daughter’s school bus as their chaperone. Little does Ray know that somehow the loot from the heist gets on the school bus. Shenanigans ensue.
I remember watching the trailer for this movie and at the end of it being thoroughly confused. Was this a comedy? It seems to be since it has kids and a goofy premise of having WWE Superstar HHH as the chaperone of the field trip. Yet despite trailers usually putting in the best jokes in the trailer I could not find anything that even remotely resembled a joke. Turns out the trailer wasn’t too far off of how the movie felt since this is one of the unfunniest movies I have seen in a good long while.
Here is an example of the non-humor being written in this movie. A long running joke is that Ray has read many self-help books in prison and refers to it many times during the course of the movie. That’s it. That’s the joke. Can’t find the humor? Neither can I. I think what the writers were *intending * was Ray reading books about anger management and becoming more “sensitive”. The humor coming from the fact you have a roided up (allegedly) wrestler whose gimmick is crippling people in the ring and having him be a big cuddly teddy bear who doesn’t want to fight anymore. That somewhat resembles humor at least. But having him quote cheesy inspirational crap like “when a door closes for you a window opens” or some such nonsense; that’s not funny. That makes no sense.
Much of the humor is like that; stuff which is supposed to be a joke but isn’t. It’s like space aliens looking at Earth culture and trying to re-create this thing called “humor” but failing miserably. For example, the bus driver played like a surfer dude who takes everything mellow. AND!? And what movie? What is supposed to be funny about that? Is the actor playing that part supposed to be funny in it of itself? A kid on the school bus has a backpack full of firecrackers…AND? No punch line. No reason for why this kid has a backpack full of firecrackers except it gets shoe horned in at the finale (even though it didn’t have to be). Do you see what I mean; this stuff not making any sense?
Even the central premise of the movie (the fact WWE Superstar HHH is a chaperone) gets played out inside of a minute. If you have seen the trailer you have seen HHH give a speech in his grumbly tone about how he is the chaperone and how he is not going to take crap from any kids and that’s it. He doesn’t really do anything else in the movie. I never thought I would be referencing all the good things Kindergarten Cop did but at least in that movie they embraced the stupid premise. Much of that movie was laughing at Ahnuld’s thick Austrian accent as he was trying to act tough in front of a classroom full of kindergarten kids. In The Chaperone all we really get is one scene of HHH glowering at kids on a bus with his freakishly gigantic forehead ridges and the kids are scared straight. HHH doesn’t have the charisma of Arnold. Hell, he doesn’t even have the charisma of Tommy Wiseau.
You would think the director would play up to HHH’s strength and put in several action scenes but no. He has about two fight scenes that don’t take up much time and aren’t at all memorable. Even the climax of the movie has the kids rescuing Ray for crying out loud. It’s not like I came to this piece of shit for HHH’s fantastic acting ability. HHH is to acting what WWE’s Big Apple Takedown is to literature. It’s an abomination.
The compound the problem of not having any jokes, the movie doesn’t have nearly enough to fill it’s 80 something minute running time. It doesn’t help that there is no conflict in this movie. Ray quickly finds out about the money and is perfectly willing to give the money back. Stuff keeps coming up though which prevents him from going to the designated meet ups to deliver the money. Eventually the bad guys capture him and ransom him for the money. The money he was willing to give them in the first place. Someone may argue it could be a recurring gag that Ray wants to do the simple task of giving money away and is thwarted by random chance. But this is The Chaperone we are talking about here. I’m not giving them credit for shit. I’m further not giving them credit because it really doesn’t feel like it is done for humor. It just feels like they needed to artificially pad out the movie so they threw in some bullshit speed bumps in the way.
This movie was so monumentally frustrating for me for a few reasons. For one (something I say so often it could be a catchphrase or something) there is nothing worse than an unfunny comedy. The other reason is for what I outlined earlier. I was watching this movie trying to find out where the jokes were and what the writers thought were jokes. The only thing that could be funny for people would be watching me watching this movie and yelling “Where’s the joke!?” at my TV. As a person that appreciates good screenwriting this was like my kryptonite. I am not sure if there is anything else to say: the acting blows, the plot is not only non-existent but artificially lengthened nothing, and there are no jokes in this supposed comedy. This movie is fucking awful and there is no reason for it to exist.