Scorched promotional poster
|Directed by||Gavin Grazer|
|Produced by||Neverland Films|
|Written by||Joe Wein|
Rachael Leigh Cook
|Distributed by||Constantin Film|
|Running time||89 mins|
|Budget||US$ 7 million|
Scorched is a 2003 independent comedy film starring Alicia Silverstone, Rachael Leigh Cook, Woody Harrelson, and John Cleese. The film was directed by Gavin Grazer, brother of Academy Award-winning television and film producer Brian Grazer. Scorched follows the story of several disgruntled bank employees who all try to rob the same bank on the same night without knowing that others are doing exactly the same thing.
The film had a very poor financial performance at the box office. From the initial budget of US $7 million, Scorched earned back only $8,000 at the end of its theatrical run. It was pulled from its theatrical run after just one weekend in the theaters where it managed to earn a meager $666 per theater.
Sheila Rilo (Silverstone) is a bank teller at Desert Savings Bank in a small desert town. Her boyfriend is Rick Becker (Joshua Leonard), the bank manager who was informed by his superiors that he would be fired if the bank's ATMs were to be robbed just one more time. Sheila and Rick have spent several years together in their on-again off-again relationship, in which he uses her until something better comes along; after Sheila pays for most of Rick's education, he leaves her for his tutor. Sheila decides to exact revenge on Rick by robbing the bank and getting him fired.
On the same night, Stuart (Paulo Costanzo) and Jason (Woody Harrelson), two other tellers from the same bank, have also decided to rob the bank. Stuart's plan is to steal $250,000 from the bank and bet the entire amount on one game of roulette in Las Vegas. Stuart, who is desperate for excitement in his life, is doing this on the suggestion of his friend Max (David Krumholtz) even though the intelligent Stuart is usually the one talking Max out of his hare-brained ideas and get-rich-quick schemes.
Jason is a nature lover who lives with an orphaned duck. He was promoted to assistant bank manager, a position with much more responsibility but only a $0.55 per hour raise. He feels the bank owes him for years of loyal and underpaid service and he decides to get even by robbing the safety deposit box of a mean-spirited local millionaire, Charles Merchant (Cleese). Merchant, who got rich from making infomercials and selling videotapes on how to get rich quickly on the real estate market, is the person that shot Jason's duck's mother, therefore making easier Jason's decision to rob Merchant's safety deposit box.
Jason is not the only one with a plan for revenge against the local tycoon. A disgruntled clothing store employee, Shmally (Cook), takes her revenge against Merchant the same night by having Carter (Marcus Thomas) help her throw eggs at Merchant's home. Carter Doleman is Shmally's friend and roommate and the bank's newest employee. Due to his inability to dress well and his lack of ability to get a job on his own, Shmally agreed to help him. When Carter was called for an interview at the bank, Shmally gave Carter a make-over, dressed him up properly and coached him on how to pass the interview. Anxious and excited about starting his first day of work, hesitant Carter lets himself be dragged out of bed by Shmally so that he can help her egg Merchant's house.
Cast and characters
- Alicia Silverstone - Sheila Rilo: bank teller, Rick's girlfriend
- Rachael Leigh Cook - Shmally: clothing store employee, Carter's roommate
- Woody Harrelson - Jason "Woods" Valley: assistant manager and nature lover
- John Cleese - Charles Merchant: local business man and millionaire, creator of infomercials
- Paulo Costanzo - Stuart "Stu" Stein: bank teller, Max's friend, desperate for excitement in life
- David Krumholtz - Max: Stu's friend, full of get-rich-quick schemes
- Joshua Leonard - Rick Becker: bank manager, Sheila's boyfriend
- Ivan Sergei - Mark: a fireman, Sheila's new love interest
- Marcus Thomas - Carter Doleman: Shmally's roommate, bank's newest employee
The film received generally negative feedback from film critics, scoring 17% on the aggregate review website Rotten Tomatoes as of December 11, 2008. Film critic Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film one star out of five and called Scorched "a bigger and more disagreeable waste of time than rolling an enormous ball of solid ordure up a steep hill" while Angus Wolfe Murray of Eye for Film, who awarded the film the same star-rating, called it an "unmitigated disaster" and concluded that "a car wreck has more style". Rich Cline of ShadowsontheWall.com admits that Scorched has a "superb cast" who are "gifted performers" but that the film is still a "leaden mess", that it's "completely pointless" and concludes that "while the film is watchable, not a single plot thread comes to life". Critic Matthew Leyland of online service BBCi gave the film two stars out of five, calling it a "tepid revenge farce" with an "undercooked plot" and observing that "attempts at zany humour turn pear-shaped". Sean Axmaker of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer called the film "amusing but tepid", called the script "lazy" and ultimately concluded that, with only "vaguely likable characters", Scorched is "aggressively amiable and utterly unmemorable". Of the rare favourable reviews was the one by Duane Byrge of the The Hollywood Reporter in which he called the storyline a "raucously satisfying triumph of good over evil" and "a truckload of laughs" while concluding that "this wonderfully wayward comedy should make off with a ton of dollars, euros and other comic currency".
Box office performance
Scorched was filmed in six weeks, ending principal photography on June 23, 2001 but was not released in the United States until July 25, 2003. The film suffered major financial losses during its theatrical run, earning only $8,000 (approximately 0.1%) from a production budget of $7 million. Domestically, the film was only in release for three days starting on August 3, 2003 and it played in only twelve theaters averaging gross earnings of $666 per theater. The earnings for the opening weekend, which turned out to be the film's last weekend as well, ranked the film as the 380th film of 2003 by domestic gross earnings.
- "Box Office Mojo: Scorched: Foreign Total". Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Scorched, Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed October 1, 2009.
- Bradshaw, Peter. Scorched, The Guardian. Accessed December 11, 2008.
- Murray, Angus Wolfe. Scorched, EyeforFilm.co.uk. Accessed December 11, 2008.
- Cline, Rich. Scorched, ShadowsontheWall.com, September 29, 2003. Accessed December 11, 2008.
- Leyland, Matthew. Scorched, BBC Online, December 7, 2005. Accessed December 11, 2008.
- Axmaker, Sean. 'Scorched' is too tepid to leave a mark, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 1, 2003. Accessed December 11, 2008.
- Byrge, Duane. Scorched, The Hollywood Reporter. Accessed December 11, 2008.
- Wells, Jeffrey. Flatliner, Hollywood Confidential, August 10, 2001. Accessed December 11, 2008.
- Scorched, Box Office Mojo. Accessed December 11, 2008.
- 2003 Yearly Box Office Results, Box Office Mojo. Accessed December 11, 2008.