It's certainly an improvement from 'Red State', but he could've done that blindfolded. I'm glad he made this film because it serves as a great example of a director going 'overboard' with his vision, even on this small of a scale. He throws way too many unrelated elements into the pot and expects it to work as his own brand of absurdism. He doesn't have a good grasp of the tone he wants in these last two ventures outside of comedy. That's not to say the movie isn't without it's charms. I was very impressed with Michael Parks' performance and found his monologues to be some exceptional writing, coming from Smith. If a better director sees this and remembers that Parks is still working and decides to hire him, then it won't be all for naught. My favorite parts are the conversations between Parks and Long in the beginning. I really was captivated for a time there in how they were setting up what's to come ( even though I've known about it for MONTHS ). Then it just spirals out of control after the first time we see the Walrus suit and forgets what kind of movie it wants to be.
The suit is a HIDEOUS sight, truly disturbing, but after seeing it for awhile all you can think about is how bad it looks. This whole time I was expecting to see a guy trapped in a REALISTIC walrus suit, but it turns out it's a patchwork of human skin stitched together from different bodies. I know that Smith wanted to up the ante and show something shocking and grotesque, but the idea of being sewn into a suit that resembles a walrus is SCARY ENOUGH for me. He's always trying so hard to outdo himself that any potential for subtlety flies right out the window. This is a Kevin Smith movie, you wanna freak me out? SHOW THE GUY FUCKING THE WALRUS! There's even foreshadowing about how big the walrus dick is that just gets thrown by the wayside. He really lost his way somewhere writing this script. The more he keeps throwing out these semi-cool premises and fucking it up, the less I want to keep supporting his movies. I'll watch this again, though. Maybe many times. It has some moments that felt inspired, but the second half was a huge disappointment for me.