David Duchovnys misguided House of D is now the barometer I use to judge how bad other films are. If I walk out of a movie and say, Well, that was bad but it wasnt House of D bad, then I know what review rating Ill be able to settle on without feeling guilty. In a weird, twisted way, Im actually grateful to David Duchovny for making a film like this, which so easily defines what earns an F rating in 2005.
2003 had its Gigli (the film I had been using up to this point to judge just how awful a movie is) and now 2005 has its House of D. Whats strange is that you dont have to look far to find similarities between the two grossly overblown, incomprehensible films. Both starred off-screen couples. Both movies took too many liberties with their characters. Gigli and House of D are examples of films that require their lead actors to do things not only outside the confines of their characters personalities, but outside the realm of believability for audiences. And both movies treat moviegoers as though were brainless, lemming-like suckers.
Whats House of D about you ask? 96 minutes too long. No, ostensibly the story is about a man who is analyzing the wreck that is his adult life by looking back on his troubled childhood. Told in flashback (an annoyance more than anything) the man (David Duchovny) recalls being a 13 year-old growing up in Greenwich Village with a pill-popping mom (Tea Leoni) and a best friend who was 40+ years-old and developmentally disabled (played by a way over the top Robin Williams with grotesquely bad dentures).
Tommy recalls that in his teen years, he formed an absolutely unexplainable relationship with a woman who was serving time in prison and who sang for no reason other than the fact shes played by Erykah Badu in his flashbacks. The young Tommy (Anton Yelchin in a role that shouldnt win him any fans) confided everything to this prisoner confined to the House of D and housed in a cell a couple floors off of street level. Dont ask how this kid connected with this total stranger and definitely dont try and figure out how they communicated being so physically far apart and considering the fact Erykah Badu didnt even necessarily speak out the window while she carried on a conversation with Tommy way down below. Its just another House of D instance where the filmmaker wants us to forget the need to tell a story that makes sense.
Speaking of not making sense, though I'd rather completely put the character of Pappass (Williams) out of my mind, its necessary to add a little more about this disturbing portrayal of a man with a developmental disability. People who have development disabilities cant all of a sudden decide to act smart because their friend needs them to. It just doesnt happen.
I love stupid, mindless entertainment (see Eurotrip) but theres a limit to what even Ill put up with. House of D was so bad it forced me to do something I never do while watching a film in a theater. I took a break. I just couldnt take it anymore. My mind was reeling at the absurdity of it all. So that I didnt disturb the other half dozen critics who were busy scribbling away notes, I went into the lobby, engaged in conversation for 10 or so minutes, and then forced myself to endure the last half of the movie. I re-entered the theater only to discover I hadnt missed a thing. Darn it.
I realize its Duchovnys rookie effort and that hes extremely passionate about this film, but theres no way I can in good conscience recommend anyone spend a dime on purchasing a ticket for this film. My advice is to stay as far away as possible from this House.
"House of D" was written and directed by David Duchovny and is rated PG-13 for sexual and drug references, thematic elements and language.