REVIEW: Cousin Ben Troop Screening with Jason Schwartzman [2012]

Score: 5/10 | ★ ★

Rating: NR | Runtime: 2 minutes | Release Date: June 19th, 2012 (USA)
Studio: Funny or Die
Director(s): Wes Anderson
Writer(s): Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola

“Why? Why? I don’t know.”

A Funny or Die exclusive promoting the release of Moonrise Kingdom, Cousin Ben Troop Screening with Jason Schwartzman is a two-minute piece directed by the feature’s Wes Anderson with co-writing duties from Roman Coppola. Schwartzman reprises his role as Cousin Ben while the children paying admission to watch his tented screening of the film are all revealed to be familiar faces from it as well. This causes a meta crisis considering they are characters speaking about the very world they exist inside as a fiction to entertain them, but that’s kind of its charm.

Anderson obviously got wind of doing this as he completed principal photography and it retains continuity of aesthetic and tone as a result. Schwartzman is his usual short-tempered and self-involved self with a heart of gold, setting the stage for his character’s appearance towards the end of Moonrise while also providing a quirky introduction to the film itself for anyone inclined to add some flair via a faux “And now for your feature presentation” gag at home. It’s publicity through and through with little artistic merit besides a surface, cute laugh.

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