Dear Robert DeNiro,
For the sake of other living screen legends and film fans everywhere, please do another American Express commercial when you are short on cash, and not another full-length feature that insults the intelligence of all involved, especially the audience.
Your new suspense thriller “Hide and Seek” made me very sad and uncomfortable, but not because that’s what a good scary movie is supposed to do. I was in a constant state of cringe because this film is so beneath you.
Your character, Dr, David Callaway, gave you the chance, I suppose, to play against type. The characters that have made you famous (Travis Bickle, Vito Corleone, Rupert Pupkin, Jake LaMotta) have had their own brand of uniqueness for sure. So maybe you were looking forward to the challenge of playing someone so dull that anybody could have done it. The role of Callaway is so mild and uninteresting, he seems to not have a single individual character trait, except maybe his penchant for tacky cable-knit sweaters.
Going into the film, I imagined that 10-year old Dakota Fanning probably signed on to “Hide and Seek” just for the chance to play your daughter. It was her opportunity to say “I learned so much from Bob on the set.” After sitting through a grueling hour and forty-five minutes, however, I realize that this is the movie where the young actress learned the hard way that even great actors have house payments too.
Unfortunately, Fanning does not come out unscathed in this sordid affair either. Given her age, though, she is a little easier to forgive. After her mother slits her wrists in the bathtub, Fanning develops dark circles under her eyes and starts to resemble Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams. She plays hide and seek with her imaginary friend Charlie, and you start worrying about her sanity.
The director throws in schools of red herrings to throw off the audience, and other good actors such as Dylan Baker, Elisabeth Shue, and Robert John Burke join you in slumming. None of the characters are remotely credible, as they are weird when the manipulative screenplay requires them to be, but totally normal when it doesn’t. Emily even develops a wicked tongue, and graduates from “The Addams Family” to “Beetlejuice,” dressing like Winona Ryder’s goth-chick Lydia.
Remember the scene where you realize that your daughter is a budding artist? And a damn good one at that, since she’s able to draw a convincing cartoon flip-up book of her Mom knifing herself in the tub until there’s blood all over the page! You shouldn’t be too concerned, though, because great artists are often a little “off.”
Of course, “Hide and Seek” would not be up to the standard of the new post -“Sixth Sense” thrillers if it didn’t end with a big twist. And, boy what a doozy. There’s nothing like a little child endangerment to bring the fun out in a scare-iffic night at the movies! After the twist, “Hide and Seek” goes from just bad to purely revolting. The hole just gets deeper and deeper. If I didn’t have to review the movie, I would have gotten up and left.
Your scenes at the end of the film are so beneath you. It is so sad, the slumming. Sad, depressing, sad, sad, sad.
It is one thing for a movie to be boring and awful, but it is quite another to be insulting, in bad taste, and utterly ridiculous at the same time. That is a no-star movie.
Please consider a commercial next time. It may not pay as well, but it is a lot shorter and won’t hurt movie fans nearly as much.