Film Review – Tusk (2014)

tusk-movie justin long kevin smith

Justin Long finds himself in a spot of bother in Kevin Smith’s Tusk


Directed by Kevin Smith

Starring Justin Long, Michael Parks, Haley Joel Osment

Review by Jordan

Kevin Smith, fresh off the career re-defining cult thriller Red State could seemingly do no wrong, being close to an early retirement and continuing strongly with his pioneering podcast and no doubt still fending off the crazed mobs sent into jubilation after Clerks III rumors hit the internet.

A generation X icon, Smith’s foul-mouthed, pop-culture savvy and often sentimental scripts are endeared to the hearts of many, with his fan service Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back being one of the most beloved cult films around. Beloved being the exact last word that springs to mind when contemplating his latest outing…

You see, Tusk is only a word, the reality is much, much worse…

Saved in part by yet another mesmerizing Michael Parks performance, who appears trained to steal any scene he’s in (See also Red State, From Dusk Till Dawn and We Are What We Are), Tusk is otherwise a dreary effort as both a comedy and horror film, mired down by ugly characters, predictability (which should absolutely not exist in a tale of a pod-caster being mutilated and turned into a walrus) and one of the worst cameos in recent memory. There are a lot of critics of the cameo, who believe that it takes away from the fictional aspects of a film as it focuses on an actor and not a character, and after viewing this I am open to hear that argument, but what makes matters even worse that this French-Canadian monstrosity is that Tusk was my most anticipated film of 2014… shame.

The story of highly unlikable new-media jerk Wallace (Justin Long), who disappears in Canada while on the trail of an interesting new story to exploit and is searched for by his stunning yet emotionally unstable, self loathing (sigh) girlfriend Ally (Genesis Rodriguez) and seemingly more grounded best mate Teddy (Haley Joel Osment – yes, it’s very weird seeing him again) isn’t without its moments of humor, most coming from Smith’s derogatory view of America’s northern neighbor and some absurdest images involving ecstatic former seafarers and uncoordinated, plump giant mammals, but the relationships between these characters are all so frustrating, and the randomness of events without being sufficiently entertaining test the viewers patience until we feel what Wallace is feeling in all the wrong ways.

A deranged misfire that revels in its grotesqueness, seemingly made for an audience so small one doubts it actually exists, the best possible outcome that can befall Tusk is that it sinks to the bottom of the ocean of obscurity like a helpless walrus, unable to again resurface to taint the career of a great film-maker.

1.5 Brown Recluse Spiders out of 5

22 responses to “Film Review – Tusk (2014)

  1. I feel like the only person who liked this film. I just found it to be cheesy fun but I know it’s not a legitimately good movie. One of my guilty pleasures.

    • I really wanted to! I actually watched this one with Eddie, and we found ourselves laughing quite a lot, but eventually it was laughing at Smith’s decisions and not thanks to the humor. Still, seeing the Walrus for the first time was an experience like no other, ha.

  2. “Haley Joel Osment – yes, it’s very weird seeing him again” ha!

    This movie looks grotesque & awful and yet I was curious despite all the poor reviews so I’m glad you watched it for me because now I’m definitely going to PASS.

  3. I actually enjoyed the play between tension and humor. It’s a hard balance to pull off, and that god-awful cameo threatened to take the whole thing down with him, but overall I liked it. Really, it’s even worth a watch just for Michael Parks’ performance alone.

    • How bad was that cameo! He just stuck around for way too long and stole all the momentum! Michael Parks is one of the most mesmerizing actors around, I’m glad he’s finally getting the exposure he deserves.

  4. Evidently I am more deranged than you are 🙂 I liked this a lot…it was just so weird that it just got to me. I do remember that there were just 3 of us in the audience at the time so that probably says something. I guess I am just a Kevin Smith “milk maiden” no matter what.

    • Haha well you’ve certainly got my respect Joan. I really wish I loved this, but thought Smith got too caught up in a few of the moments and forgot to tell a worthwhile story with his premise.

  5. Nailed it Jordan. This movie was so frustating! Much as I bashed this film in my review, I took note of some elements that were there that really could have elevated ‘Tusk’ into proper cult-classic status. But my god, this was just so bad on so many levels. And, I really could get over Justin Long’s unlikable character, he had it coming to him from the off. That was actually one specific element I was psyched about. But the entire movie just refused to give good reasons for anything.

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