Senseless (1998) – Review

2 Stars

Marlon Wayans works hard and with high energy to mine laughs in the sporadically amusing comedy, Senseless. His facial contortions and talent for physical comedy aren’t on the level of Jim Carrey, but he’s a lot more gifted than other screen comedians of the 1990’s. Unlike, Pauly Shore, Harland Williams, Carrot Top and others who were given starring roles in unwatchable vehicles made for them, Wayans has the charisma to entertain as opposed to repelling audiences.

Darryl Witherspoon (Marlon Wayans) is a driven college student barely making ends meet while trying to land his dream job on Wall Street. The perpetually poor Darryl volunteers for a high-paying scientific experiment that gives him super-senses. It also gives him a competitive edge over his rival, Scott Thorpe (David Spade), a wealthy snob who is up for the same position at a top-tier bank. But, when the side effects from the experimental drug kicks in, Darryl’s chances for success are sabotaged by his own sensory overload.

Senseless is like the junior varsity rendition of The Nutty Professor. It features a good-hearted central character who takes a formula and can’t control his inner compulsions or limbs. Both are set at Universities and each film climaxes with the protagonist achieving their goal while not on the ‘juice.’ The difference is; The Nutty Professor is an absolute classic and Senseless is totally forgettable outside of Wayans contribution. He does more for the film than it does for him. Still, it’s a step up from 1997’s The Sixth Man. 90’s Miramax mainstay Matthew Lillard has a funny supporting role, eccentric actor Rip Torn appears as the head of a large conglomerate, and Cuckoo’s Nest alumnus Brad Dourif plays the administering scientist.

Director: Penelope Spheeris
Stars: Marlon Wayans, Brad Dourif, Esther Scott

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