My Name Is Bruce

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Apparently, the last refuge of B-movie action stars is playing themselves for ironic and/or comic effect. Along with Jean-Claude Van Damme's meta-excursion in "JCVD" comes this horror movie spoof starring cult movie favorite Bruce Campbell, whose turns in the "Evil Dead" movies and oddities like "Bubba Ho-tep" have endeared him to the sorts of fans who throng Comic-Con.

Unfortunately, the self-reflexive "My Name Is Bruce," which Campbell also co-produced and directed, is far too lame to have its desired effect. This horror movie spoof, which mercilessly but not surprisingly, considering its provenance, lovingly sends up its hero is clearly aiming for but falls well short of the sort of ironic wit that would guarantee it cult status.

As the film -- which opened Oct. 31 in limited release -- would have it, the boozing, womanizing Campbell is reduced to living in a liquor bottle-strewn trailer while starring in straight-to-video schlock like "Cave Alien 2." But that doesn't stop a rabid goth teen fan (Taylor Sharpe) from kidnapping him to help him defeat an evil Chinese god that has accidentally been let loose from an old cemetery.

Hilarity doesn't ensue, as Campbell finds himself in the mining town of Gold Lick (the appearance of two old prospectors cues the inevitable "Brokeback Mountain" gag), where, thinking that it's all a practical joke cooked up by his agent (Ted Raimi), he agrees to battle the monster while romancing the fan's sexy mom (Grace Thorsen).

While the supremely cheesy special effects are naturally part of the joke, the witless script certainly is not. As always, Campbell displays a winningly self-deprecating screen presence that is fun to watch. But this lame bid for self-spoofery, from Image Entertainment, would fall short even seen at a midnight show while under the influence.

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