Being a fellow Michigander (with Jeff Daniels), I can see part of where this movie came from. It's a satirical look at Midwestern family values and sexual mores (like Daniels' other, more well-known, and overall better "Pleasantville"). Unlike "Pleasantville," where the attacks on sexual puritanism are subtle enough for some casual viewers to miss, "Super Sucker" is blatant.
The premise: A down-and-out vacuum cleaner distributor (Daniels) in a moderate-sized Midwest town (based on and shot in Jackson, Michigan) has been given 30 days to outsell his overbearing and obnoxious competitor. Whoever sells the most systems gets sole rights to distributorship. Daniels seems destined to lose -- the competition has much more advertising money, and is willing to throw any rules of fairness out the window -- until he discovers a special use for a long-discontinued attachment. He puts the attachment into rapid production, and offers it as a "special bonus" that only his distributorship has available. His fate changes radically, buildi ng up to a raucous farce of a climax.
The buildup is, in my opinion, slow, and bits are ham-fistedly predictable; the "cat" scene belonged in a Farrelly Brothers movie (and that's not a compliment), but it was thankfully brief. But once it gets going (around the midpoint), and writer/director Daniels decides that whatever real world logic he had been attempting to follow should be thrown out the window in favor of over-the-top absurdity, it has some truly comedic scenes. In a time when Michigan's sexual more pendulum appears to be swinging back to the left, the film is a nice push in the right direction. And, sociosexual politics aside, it's a darn fine piece of unpretentious independent comedy -- something we can never have enough of.
TV buffs will likely enjoy a cameo from Gilligan Island's Dawn Wells, making fun of her own stereotyping as Mary Ann.
Purple Rose fans will note that, except for bits of body-humor comedy and Daniels' affably hapless good guy (a persona he started with "Something Wild"), this is a much different film than Escanaba in Da Moonlight (also a good movie, although I enjoyed the play more). Like "Pleasantville," it has more national appeal ("Escanaba" was rife with Michigan in-jokes), and despite some of its stageplay-like shots, it's obviously based on a screenplay, with many more scenes and a much larger cast. I hope Purple Rose works out its own kinks in distributorship (leaving me wondering if Daniels' frustration here didn't contribute to "Super Sucker"'s premise), because these films deserve a larger audience than they seem to be getting.
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1 hr 34 min