Bruce Campbell | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Though he proudly calls himself a B-movie actor, Bruce Campbell left the realm of the merely thespian long ago. Like William Shatner or Elvis--whom he excelled as in the criminally underrated Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)--he's muscled his way into celluloid immortality through the sheer force of his insolent, self-deprecating persona. The concluding chapter in the Evil Dead trilogy--whose opening credits read "Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness"--copped to this, and Campbell has gleefully played variations on his bad self ever since. In 2001 he branched out into books with the memoir If Chins Could Kill, and now he's back with Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way, a fictional account of his disastrous involvement in a big-budget A-list movie. Campbell spins a droll, episodic yarn that has him butching up costar Richard Gere, corrupting director Mike Nichols, impersonating producer Robert Evans, and doing battle with an evil suit from the past. It all culminates in a crazy Benny Hill-meets-Blazing Saddles chase scene on the Paramount lot. At 300-plus pages the book's a little flabby, but it's still jackassedly hilarious, and it provides moments of surprising insight into the film actor's craft and psyche. Campbell's in town for the annual Flashback Weekend nostalgia convention, where he'll flog his book, introduce a screening of The Evil Dead, and show his latest directorial venture, Man With the Screaming Brain; with any luck he'll also shed some light on the much anticipated Evil Dead: Regeneration, now in preproduction. Fri 7/29, 5-8 PM, Sat 7/30, 1-5:45 PM, and Sun 7/31, 1:30-4 PM (book signings). Crown Plaza Chicago O'Hare, 5554 N. River Road, Rosemont, 847-478-0119 or flashbackweekend.com, $40 three-day pass, $20 daily. See the Flashback Weekend Drive-In Film Festival schedule in Movies for more.

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