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Thinner (1996)

DVD Cover (Olive Films)
Genres:
Horror, Supernatural Horror
Director:
Tom Holland Tom Holland
Starring:
Robert John Burke Robert John Burke
Joe Mantegna Joe Mantegna
Lucinda Jenney Lucinda Jenney
Michael Constantine Michael Constantine
Kari Wuhrer Kari Wuhrer

5.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: September 01, 2012
You know, I haven't read Stephen King's novel Thinner in probably at least ten years, but I remember liking it well enough. Like most of his stories however, the movie adaptation just took the basic elements and threw them together. The results were, as usual, lacking.

Simply put, Billy Halleck is a shit of a human being. A defense lawyer who has no problem defending some obviously guilty clients, the man also has an insatiable appetite, leading to an unmanageable weight problem. After winning his latest case, successfully defending the notorious mobster, Richie the Hammer, he goes out and celebrates with his wife, the judge, and the chief of police. The celebration continues on the drive home, and his wife's road head distracts him enough to slam into an elderly gypsy woman crossing the street. His friends use their positions to clear him of any criminal charges, but murder, even if it was accidental, is not going to go unpunished. Another gypsy approaches Billy the morning his case is dismissed, strokes his cheek and utters a single word. "Thinner." Suddenly, the weight is flying off. He's eating three times the amount of a normal man, and still losing five pounds a day. Obviously, he's ecstatic at first, but as the weight loss continues, Billy realizes he needs to end this curse before he wastes away to nothing.

As far as I can remember , the plot follows the book closely enough. It's a simple enough story, so the mandatory slimming down (sorry) to fit an hour and a half running time doesn't leave the remainder a shallow puddle. Still, there's a reason that Thinner has been absolutely slammed with bad reviews since it's release, but I'd say the complaints are a bit overblown. I mean, it's really not that bad of a movie, but it certainly isn't an engaging one either. You see, when you're watching Billy running around trying to find the gypsies and have the curse removed you're not actually behind him because deep down you know that he deserves what he's getting. And really, that's the root of the movie's entire problem. There are NO decent, likable characters to be found. Our protagonist is an unethical glutton, his wife and friend seem to be having an affair, the judge is an unabashed racist, and his savior is a mobster. Who exactly are we supposed to be rooting for here?

One problem Thinner did not have was bad acting. Robert John Burke was excellent as Billy Halleck. From whiny glutton to the emaciated and enraged, Burk covered every inch of the spectrum without a hitch. Plus, while obviously the credit goes to the effects crew here, the movie magic that brought his dropping weight to life was exceptionally well done. At no point was it obvious that this was the unaltered actor and the rest was a special effect. Joe Mantegna, Daniel von Bargen, and John Horton all brought their A-Games to their small roles. I especially liked Mantegna's take on the slimy mob boss; his back-and-forth with Gina was the part of the book that really stuck with me, so it was nice to see the chemistry between the pair on screen. Speaking of, Kari Wuhrer pulls off indignant, if misguided, rage quite nicely. Plus, she's hot as hell and gives us a panty flash early on in the movie; that's always an appreciated bonus.

Thinner is another in a long line of King novels that simply doesn't translate to film very well. I wouldn't call it a waste of ninety minutes, but I'm not going to recommend it either. 5/10.
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Big D #1: Big D - added 08/24/2004, 03:13 PM
The movie, based on Stephen King's "Thinner", is amazing. It scared the hell out of me. :)
Ginose #2: Ginose - added 09/09/2005, 06:00 PM
The book is what scared me... I mean, damn! Have you read that thing? Almost as scary as Bram Stroker's "Dracula" novel...
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