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‘JCVD’: Figuring out Jean-Claude Van Damme
Is the action star's new movie savvy, or 'Synecdoche for Dummies'?
 

Jean-Claude Van Damme’s new action comedy “feels especially savvy in today’s reflexive mediascape,” said Joshua Rothkopf in Time Out New York. In JCVD (watch the trailer here, via YouTube), the actor plays himself—the “actual Belgian celeb—caught up in a random bank robbery” who, “amid the madness,” becomes “reflective” and talks about his real-life “mistakes—at length.” It’s a unique movie that “shares some of the same fizzy geekiness of last year’s Hot Fuzz.”

What this “meta-drama” is, said Dan Kois in New York magazine online, is "Synecdoche for Dummies." It “explores the “same mind-blowing themes” as Charlie Kaufman’s “brainteaser, but there's a lot less heavy lifting.” Did anyone really expect more? “After all, it stars the Muscles from Brussels, Jean-Claude Van Damme.”

Actually, “as a self-regarding expression of masculine angst,” said J. Hoberman in The Village Voice online, “it's a Damme sight more fun than Synecdoche.” And in fact, parts of JCVD are “as funny as anything in Tropic Thunder.” But with that said, most “audiences—midnight or otherwise—may never warm to this low-budget whatzit.”

 

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