Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Early Croods Review Raves: Cloris Leachman "Hilarious"

A fella by the name of Gary Bass has posted a short, albeit enthusiastic review of the The Croods on IMDB. According to Bass, the version he saw was only "40% done," and the rest of it was "animatics and storyboards, with a temporary music score taken from other movies."

Still, Bass felt the film "had a good balance of humor and action," and gave special praise to Cloris Leachman as the mother-in-law. "She stole every scene she was in," Bass said. "Absolutely hilarious!"

As a longtime admirer of Leachman's work, this made me smile. Over the years, Leachman has turned in some truly stellar comedic performances. As Frau Bl├╝cher in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, Leachman shines in every scene she appears in. She was so damned funny as Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show that they gave her a spin-off. And who can forget her portrayal of the demented Nurse Diesel in High Anxiety? Creepy!

But it's not just comedy that Leachman excels at. I all-caps LOVE her work in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show. In it, Leachman took the sad, side-character of Ruth Popper and transformed her into the emotional lynchpin of the film. It's a nuanced, natural and heart-breaking performance, and it's one that I hope the powers-that-be box up and send out into space so that wayfaring aliens will take pity on our planet and not use us for food.

In addition to live action roles, Leachman has also lent her voice to quite a few cartoons. A quick scan of the aforementioned IMDB lists credits from such films as The Iron Giant and the English language dubs of Castle in the Sky and Ponyo. With an animated filmography as prestigious as this, is it wrong for me to heap even higher hopes upon The Croods?

To read Gary Bass' complete Croods review, click here.

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