Despicable Dick & Righteous Richard
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Despicable Dick & Righteous Richard

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4 1/2 STARS
Joshua Neale (UK, International Spectrum)

Screenings:
Wednesday, May 4, 9:45 p.m.
Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles Street West)
Friday, May 6, 1:45 p.m.
Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles Street West)


There are dicks. And then there’s Richard Kuchera. A Midwestern insurance salesman by trade, and grade-A asshole by reputation, Kuchera’s the kind of callous prick who would make a pass at his brother-in-law’s wife. Or spend a week in bed with a new girlfriend only to roll over and marry the fiancee she had no idea about, whom he’d then leave a day later. But after a lifetime of boozing, womanizing, and casual drug use, Kuchera sets about making amends with all the people he’s wronged in his life as part of his twelve-step program. His goal, as he puts it, is to be a bit more of a Richard and a bit less of a Dick.
Kuchera’s My Name Is Earl-ish stagger towards personal salvation is consistently beset by just how big of a dick he was. His first wife wishes she’d never met him. Former business partners sit there, fuming silently, as Kuchera tries to apologize for the money he stole from them. And his new girlfriend’s teenage son thinks he’s still nothing but a huckster. Their hesitation is understandable—Kuchera wavers between sincerity and guile. For a guy who has spent so much of his life ruining others’, Kuchera still seems to possess the urge to emotionally monopolize those around him.
This conflict, and the difficulty of gauging just how “sorry” Kuchera is, just enlivens Despicable Dick. Neale puts us in the position of someone wronged by Kuchera, forced to wince and grimace and evaluate just how frank he really is. Bona fide or not, the film compellingly traces both the exploits of a life-long asshole and the candour (real or affected) that marks his attempts to make up for his depthless misanthropy.

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