Excessive Foul Language Derails Comedy
Release Date: August 09, 1991
Starring: Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt,
Alison Lohman, Gina Gershon,
Kevin Corrigan, and Elvis
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 106 minutes
Distributor: Peace Arch Films
Director: Tom DiCillo
Executive Producer: Jimmy de Brabant, Michael
Dounaev, Kami Naghdi, Mark
Balsam, Gary Howsam, Lewin
Webb, Barry Zemel, John Flock,
and Jennifer Levine
Producer: Bob Salerno
Writer: Tom DiCillo
Address Comments To:Gary Howsam, CEO
Peace Arch Entertainment Group Inc.
1867 Yonge Street, Suite 650
Toronto, Ontario M4S 1Y5
Phone: (416) 783-8383
Fax: (416) 783-8384
Steve Buscemi plays cynical, grumpy, foul-mouthed Les, who considers himself a photojournalist but is really just another member of the sleazy paparazzi, and a low-level one at that. Les encounters a young homeless actor, Toby Grace, played by Michael Pitt. Les takes pity on Toby, offers him a room for the night and eventually lets him become his assistant, but he makes Toby live in one of his closets in his dingy three-room apartment. Les constantly tells Toby not to touch his stuff as he tutors him in the business.
In between a couple of strange jobs with laugh-out-loud funny business, Les and Toby twice encounter K’Harma (Alison Lohman), a pretty, young blonde pop star whose boyfriend just left her. Toby is completely smitten by her, and, at the music awards show, he abandons Les to go off with K’Harma and her entourage so that the press doesn’t think she’s despondent about her old boyfriend. K’Harma likes Toby too and invites him to her private birthday party the next night.
Les cajoles Toby into taking Les to the party, but Toby makes Les promise not to take any photos there. Les breaks his promise, however. This creates a comical chain of surprising events that drives Les to consider making a fatal mistake.
The cast in DELIRIOUS delivers the goods. Despite his obscenity-laced speech, the character of Les, as played by Buscemi, is one of the great comical inventions in recent years. Toby’s character (played by Pitt) makes a perfect contrast because Toby is mostly just a sweet, innocent young kid who wants to help people but sometimes gets into trouble because of his limited attention span or lack of focus.
Regrettably, the sweetness in Toby’s character is disrupted when, after he has publicly confessed his unrequited love for K’Harma, Toby lets himself be seduced by the older female casting director who has taken him under her wing. This nearly derails the movie’s uplifting ending. Ultimately, it is this scene and the movie’s strong, abundant foul language that really go over the line according to MOVIEGUIDE®’s moral standards. Yet, despite these and other moral problems, the story’s primary thrust is to extol kindness and integrity, and to rebuke envy and revenge. Eventually, Les must decide whether or not to overcome the baser sides of his nature. The great final shot of his face shows that, for once, Les has been able to overcome his angry cynicism.
A small independent movie, DELIRIOUS is a hilarious send-up of Hollywood and the “news” media’s obsession with celebrity and career. The movie’s cast delivers the goods. Despite his obscenity-laced speech, the character of Les, as played by Buscemi, is one of the great comical inventions in recent years. Sadly, however, a good portion of the movie’s content is equivalent to a hard R rating, so DELIRIOUS has a really excessive amount of strong foul language. Another moral flaw nearly derails the movie’s feel-good, sweet ending. Finally, DELIRIOUS contains some sexual elements and brief partial nudity.