Senseless | Chicago Reader

Senseless

For $3,000 a desperate student (rubber man Marlon Wayans) volunteers to test an experimental drug that will heighten his senses. Other than a riotous moment or two when an overdose renders him incapable of seeing or hearing or controlling his limbs, big laughs are few and far between in this 1998 movie, which is more successful as motivational anecdote than as comedy. Wayans's arch rival is an overprivileged stereotype (David Spade) with whom he competes for a coveted junior-analyst position at a brokerage firm, and the most satisfying scenes involve Wayans showing up Spade, at one point impressing the prospective employers by appearing to have memorized the day's stock tables when he's actually reading the newspaper from across the room. Even without the drug he clearly knows his stuff, but he's repeatedly bested by Spade in situations nuanced enough to make the gimmick-benefits-loser scenario a little bit suspenseful. Directed by Penelope Spheeris; written by Greg Erb and Craig Mazin.

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