'Tusk' is Kevin Smith's Comeback

I’ve never been a huge fan of Justin Long, but if there was one movie in his filmography to prove his acting chops–it’s this one. Tusk is a surprise, for certain. I’m going to try to say as little as possible because, despite the straight forward premise, there are still a lot of weird and out-there moments that I didn’t anticipate and would rather not spoil. *Also, for the love of god–avoid any leaked photos of the walrus; go into the movie cold, like I did. 

This may not be considered Kevin Smith’s ‘best’ film by critics, but it’s probably his strongest and most fun movie to date. By setting Tusk up as one part comedy and one part David Cronenberg-esque horror, Kevin Smith manages to seamlessly jump from hilarious 'what the fucks’ to disturbing 'what the fucks’with skillful precision. Wisely, Smith chose to tone down his trademark View Askew filthy style of comedy in favor of cringe and pitch black humor. It works especially well here, and truly fits this kind of movie. 

All of the performances are fantastic–for the most part. Haley Joel Osment isn’t really given much to do, but that’s fine considering there’s enough going on. Genesis Rodriguez, who stars as the love interest to Long’s character, plays the part of the emotionally unhinged girlfriend well. Veteran actors Michael Parks and Johnny Depp of course shine bright in their respective roles as Howard Howe and Guy Lapointe. However it’s Justin Long who, unexpectedly, provides the best performance of the movie as the lead character Wallace. There are so many nuisances to Long’s performance, it’s truly remarkable. And although Depp’s Canadian Columbo impression almost steals the show, it’s Long who brings us back to the focus of the film and ultimately stands out among the rest.

Tusk is fun. A whole lot of fun. I can’t imagine someone walking out of this film (knowing what it’s about) and not taking away at least one aspect to it that they genuinely enjoyed. Needless to say, I loved it–and I already plan on seeing it again soon.

****/****

Publication: December 1, 2014