In her review today of The Trotsky, an indie comedy starring Jay Baruchel as a high-school kid in Montreal convinced he’s the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky, the Times’ Jeanette Catsoulis really goes in on poor Jay. After first conceding some of the movie’s cleverness, she hones in on the gawky Apatow acolyte:
Though Mr. Baruchel can be very funny in small doses here he swiftly becomes insufferable, a neurotic nudnik in funeral director attire and John Turturro hairdo. Constantly thrust forward as if toppling over with Bolshevik zeal, he woos the woman he believes to be his future wife (Emily Hampshire) and a disillusioned civil liberties lawyer (Michael Murphy) with equal fanaticism.
Fair enough. Baruchel’s leading-man turn in the underperforming She’s Out of My League didn’t quite change his public perception as a bit player, and if Catsoulis doesn’t think he works as the center of attention, that’s a legitimate critique (she probably hasn’t seen Undeclared, though). But then there’s the kicker.
“You need counseling,” the lawyer comments, observing Leon’s attention-seeking behavior. Or maybe a trip to Mexico?
Wow, wow, wow! Is that supposed to relax him? Do you know what happened to Trotsky in Mexico? He had an ice pick shoved into his brain by an NKVD agent! Yeah, he also hung out with Diego Rivera and slept with Frida Kahlo. But seeing as Catsoulis just got finished tearing into Baruchel, surely that’s not the fate she’s insinuating? Okay, technically she’s referring to the character he’s playing, and not actually Baruchel, although the transition is barely noticeable. So did Catsoulis really hate Baruchel’s performance so much she felt the need to ambiguously float a grisly, historical death? Or is she maybe acting out because the Times made her go see Human Centipede?