Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Bruce Campbell: Make Love The Bruce Campbell Way

Cult icon and Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell is an endearing anachronism, a lantern-jawed, ultra-manly throwback to the more innocent drive-in era before B-movies either got dumped straight to video, or morphed into big-budget studio schlock with high-priced casts and crews. Campbell's self-deprecating autobiography If Chins Could Kill detailed his bid to make the leap from B-movies to the A-list. That noble but perhaps doomed ambition also fuels the plot of Campbell's Make Love The Bruce Campbell Way, a goofy comic novel in the Neal Pollack mold.

In it, a fictionalized version of Campbell finally achieves his life's dream when he snags a flashy, high-profile role as a doorman/ romantic savant/wacky comic foil in a big-budget, suspiciously Hitch-like Mike Nichols romantic comedy starring Richard Gere and Renée Zellweger. To prepare for the role, Campbell immerses himself in research, working as a doorman for a day, trying his hand at wedding planning, and jumping headfirst into various other misadventures among a wide assortment of buffoonish goofballs, all played by a shamelessly over-the-top Bruce Campbell in the cheesy Photoshopped pictures littering the book. But instead of elevating Campbell to the rarified air of Hollywood aristocracy, the film instead becomes infected with Campbell's B-movie virus, spiraling out of control as Nichols begins to channel his inner Herschell Gordon Lewis.

As a first-time novelist, Campbell indulges a weakness for easy targets, lazy stereotypes, and cheap gags. If he were a stand-up comicâ€"and Make Love contains only a slightly less concentrated dose of cheesy shtick than what can be found most nights at Señor Laffsalot's Comedy Hutâ€"he'd probably break out the Viagra, Monica Lewinsky, and Michael Jackson jokes in the first five minutes. Make Love's show-business satire isn't subtle or sophisticated, but its boyish, unabashed exuberance is infectious and endearing. Like a literary B-movie, it gets by more on enthusiasm and spunk than polish or craft, and it's hard not to like a novel with running gags like Campbell's long-simmering, characteristically self-deprecating rivalries with macho journeyman character actors Christopher McDonald and Bill Campbell. Ultimately, Make Love is a Bruce Campbell novel, starring Bruce Campbell, written for Bruce Campbell fans for whom Bruce Campbell can do no wrong. They'll no doubt find Campbell's latest endeavor nothing short ofâ€"to quote one of his most famous charactersâ€"groovy.


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