Reindeer Games

Reindeer Games had two strikes against it before I even saw frame one. First, it was a friggin’ Christmas movie. Just what I need as Spring is arriving: a visual reminder of all the bills I have left over from all the useless holiday crap I bought my ungrateful relatives this Christmas. Second, I saw a newspaper ad claiming Reindeer games was a “sexy, smart thrillride.”

Ahhhh, the kiss of death.

Are moviegoers really that consumed with sexiness? Have you ever left a movie and said, “Gee that movie was pretty good, but it could’ve been a tad sexier?” Have you ever chosen one movie over another because it was described as a “sexy thrillride” and the other one wasn’t? If you have, you should be stripped naked, covered in bacon fat, and thrown into a pit of shaved, horny poodles.

Ben “chiclet-teeth” Afleck is Rudy, a car thief who’s about to be released from prison. When his cellmate, Nick, gets shanked in a cafeteria riot, Rudy decides to snake his hot pen pal Ashley (Charlize “chest of a pre-teen” Theron) when he gets out. So Rudy impersonates Nick in order to get some post-stir clam. So far so good? Seem logical? You would’ve done the same thing?

Good. Me too.

Let the sexy thrillride ensue!

Ashley’s brother/lover Gabriel (Gary Sinise) is a trucker who quotes liberally from the Bible and Christmas carols. He wants to knock over the Thunderbird Casino, but needs the help of Nick, who once worked there. Gabe knows Nick worked at the casino from reading Ashley’s love letters from Nick. But wait! Rudy is pretending to be Nick, remember? If Rudy fesses up that he’s not really Nick, Gabe will kill him and, more importantly, his Charlize wick-dippin’ days are over. So he plays along and feeds Gabe a buncha bullshit. The rest of the movie is Gabe and his gang pummeling info (and the snot) out of RudyNick and giving him long-winded, intricate explanations why they can’t just kill him outright when he doesn’t deliver accurate info about the casino.

Naturally, Gabriel is the variety of movie sociopath that has a dark-humor streak. He keeps the audience chuckling as he bitches about life, hurls darts at Rudy’s face, and rams rifle butts into the nards of various and sundry casino employees. Gabe’s gang imprisons Rudy and forces him to take part in the casino hold-up. Before they ever reach the casino, Rudy has eight gamillion chances to escape. I spent the last hour of Reindeer Games going,
” Why doesn’t he just…”
“You know, he could take that knife and…”
“If I were him I’d… ”
“Awww, screw it…just run the fuck away dumbass!”

At one point, Rudy escapes the hotel room he’s shackled in, and winds up having to race BACK into his room by “hotwiring” the electronic card key lock. Why didn’t he just run away? Run Rudy. Run like your pretty ass ran from all those big sweaty felons in the shower back in the joint.

And what sexy thrillride is complete without a “surprise twist” at the end? Seems like old cellmate Nick is really a super-genius who faked his own death as part of a master plan to knock over the casino and walk away with the loot. Yeah, he’s not really dead and he shows up at the end of the movie to tell Rudy at gunpoint (and in meticulous detail) how he masterminded the whole thing. Blah, blah, blah. It was like an episode of Scooby Doo where Daphne unmasks the bad guy and he proceeds to spill his guts to the fuzz. “And I would’ve got away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”

Nick spills his guts, literally, as Rudy hits him about mid-spleen with a Pontiac. Then Ashley, who was secretly in cahoots with Nick, lights herself on fire and drives that same Pontiac over a cliff. Everyone dies a horrible grisly death, and Rudy walks away from the whole thing with a dingy Santa suit on.

Say, that is sexy.

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