Ed

Ed. Longview Entertainment/Universal Pictures 1996.
Ed. Longview Entertainment/Universal Pictures 1996.

Before watching the movie:

I’m not sure if I bought the set this movie is in before or after I heard it come up in a conversation as an example of an awful career blunder for Matt LeBlanc, but I’d never heard of it before as far as I know. Looking at the description, I can kind of see why, because it makes no sense. A minor league baseball player has to room with the team mascot for some reason, and the mascot is a real live chimp for some reason, and this improves his career and life for some reason? I’m missing too much information here. I can’t really say how bad or enjoyable I expect this to be because I have no idea from the facts at hand where it could really go. It seems like it just needs to be experienced to be understood.

After watching the movie:

“Deuce” Cooper’s exceptional pitching ability gets discovered and he gets signed to the minor league baseball team the Santa Rosa Rockets. His coach and manager think he has the potential to be a major league star, but he cracks under pressure when on the field. Meanwhile, the Rockets’ owner schemes to drum up publicity by getting a small man in an ape suit chimp to be the team’s mascot/gimmicky third baseman. Cooper is the only member of the team who dislikes “Ed”, so of course he draws the short straw and has to take him in as a roommate. Ed turns out to pitch even more improbably well than Cooper does. Hilarity is intended to ensue. Also Cooper has a romance with the single mother next door, as spurred along by her daughter and Ed.

Is this a zeroth draft? Was it written by a prototype of a screenwriting program that takes ideas a producer may mumble in their sleep and prints out 90 pages by morning? This isn’t so much a movie as a loose collection of ideas of varying quality that never seems very thought through. I hope that doesn’t read with vitriol, because it really didn’t provoke an emotional response of any kind in me. It’s just dull, confused, and ill-advised. Rewrite.

There are three plots in this movie, and they seem almost completely unrelated. Is it about Cooper’s performance problems? Is it about him having a crazy monkey roommate? Is it about falling in love with the mom next door? They’re supposed to be connected, but the plotlines don’t convincingly interact at all. Ostensibly, Ed helps get him together with Lydia, and ostensibly having Ed and Lydia care for him helps Cooper find the confidence to play strongly, but I don’t buy that connection at all. Rewrite.

Ed is played so human I can’t actually see him as a funny animal. He’s like Curious George, only performed by a surprisingly convincing puppet. I’m not sure there’s a real chimpanzee in a single frame of the movie, but the puppet or animatronic is very well-designed, and sometimes believably operated. I just never cared for the character because he’s played as a hairy, nonverbal human who’s annoying at best. Rewrite.

I always want to see the best in movies because a lot of people had to believe in them and do their part to make them work, so there has to be something good in each of them. And there are a lot of interesting ideas, good dialogue, and promising concepts here. They just don’t fit together at best (a lot is made out of a coin flip over whether Cooper will be able to make it landing on its side, which doesn’t belong at the same level of realism as the rest of the movie, and this is a movie where a chimp can throw a ball so fast it leaves a flaming hole in an outfielder’s glove), and are poorly developed at worst. Despite the positives, I seem to have produced a thoroughly disparaging review for it, and not entirely by accident. Rewrite.

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