Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Sometimes, instead of actually watching the movie, you just want to be included in the pitch meeting. The pitch for this movie ‘Rubber’ had to be something else.

Studio: What’s it about again?

Producer: It’s about a killer tire with psycho-kinetic abilities.

Studio: A Tire? You mean like…

Producer: Yeah, Goodyear, Michelin… you know.

Studio: Got anybody attached:

Producer: (Incredulous) Uh, yeah… Try Wings Hauser.

Studio: No way…

Producer: Yes… Way.

Studio: How much do you need?

Producer: How much do you got? Wings and spare tires ain’t cheap.

Studio: Consider yourself Greenlit.

And we have ourselves a movie.

The Tire, as played by Robert, gains consciousness one day and proceed to mosey on down the desert while a live audience watches his progress. One of these audience members is played by the legendary Wings Hauser. The Tire finds that he is angry as

he crushes plastic bottles and stuff. Then when The Tire realizes there are things he can’t crush, he realizes if he concentrates real hard he can make stuff explode. Say like bottles, cans, rabbits and human skulls still attached to live humans. As you can see The Tire is a bit of dick since nobody never did nothing to it to cause this kind of anti-social behavior, but alas due to the low character development of The Tire, we will never know why he’s such a dick. Unfortunately we have to lay a lot of the blame of this poor character development on Robert who played the tire as he did a piss poor job of conveying the emotions of his character. We hate to be mean, but Robert could very well be the least emotive actor this side of Brian Bosworth. And we love Bryan Bosworth here at the FCU.

True enough, while Robert isn’t the most expressive actor around, he does handle the action elements of his character much better. It’s difficult not to get caught up in the actions of The Tire as it races down the street, sometimes at speeds up to three miles per hour, methodically stalking its prey. It’s hot stuff.

While The Tire is doing all of this slaughtering we are held captive by our narrator of this movie within a movie, Lieutenant Chad (Steven Spinella) who informs us that this movie is actually an homage to the concept of ‘No Reason’. He even gives examples, such as why did Lee Harvey Oswald kill John F. Kennedy in ‘JFK’. ‘No Reason’ he would tell us. But of course there was reason for Oswald to kill JFK, just like there’s a reason for the tire to come to life and psychically blow up bunny rabbits while playing peeping tom on this movies Final Girl entry (Roxanne Mesquida). I just don’t know what that reason is.

So… we enjoyed ‘Rubber’, written and directed by Frenchman Quentin Dupieux. But he is French so he can get away with this. I mean he wouldn’t be able to get away with this in France because he’d be called out as an idiot, but here in the United States a foreigner can make a movie about a tire with psychic powers and be labeled a genius some circles. Inequitable perhaps, but that’s one the few benefits of being a foreigner.

Obviously ‘Rubber’ is completely absurd, and it does feel as if Dupieux went out of his way to make his movie strange and off beat, as if the concept of a peeping tom tire with psychic abilities going all Darryl Revok on unsuspecting humans wasn’t off beat enough. But the ridiculousness of it all and the style in which Dupieux plays his little slice of absurdist comedy worked for me. And the director had the wisdom to use Blue Magic’s rendition of ‘I Just Don’t Want to be Lonely’ as opposed to the inferior version performed by The Main Ingredient.

Despite Robert’s shortcomings as an actor, he still found a way to make us laugh with him as he traveled down his road to adventure, and with a veteran like Wings Hauser on standby… come on now, even the worst actor will get a pick-me-up with Wings nearby. Wings should be in a movie with his baby boy Cole so that he can pick his game up a little bit.

So while we would’ve liked to have understood the deeper meaning of ‘Rubber’, perhaps it’s a representation of mans irresponsible disposal of its most cherished resources… like old people… who knows… we still enjoyed the comedy and the style. Weird for the sake of being weird.

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