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Fred Durst's "The Fanatic": Even Travolta's overacting can't make this limp thriller any fun

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“The Fanatic,” a celebrity-stalker cautionary tale directed, co-written, and produced by Limp Bizkit frontman-turned-filmmaker Fred Durst, is a discomfiting experience. But probably not in the way it was intended. Durst’s film, based on an episode from his real life, is neither a blistering industry satire like “The King of Comedy,” nor does it reach the campy, trash-tastic depths of “The Fan” (the nearly-forgotten 1981 Lauren Bacall thriller). Despite John Travolta’s committed turn as the title character, the film barely raises a pulse, much less sufficient interest as even a curiosity piece. “The Fanatic” needs to be stronger, or wilder, or creepier. Mostly, it just needs to be better.

Travolta, who seems to be racing Nicolas Cage to the bottom these days, gives a cringe-inducing performance as Moose. The film suggests Moose is on the autism spectrum, but Travolta overacts at every opportunity, magnifying every emotion and gesture, such as Moose's penchant to rock back and forth. A scene of him wailing is downright excruciating.

The film opens with a voice-over by Leah (Ana Golja), Moose’s best friend, who describes Los Angeles and how people can breakdown “like an old station wagon.” She and “The Fanatic” are setting the stage for Moose to have such a breakdown, and when he crashes his moped after a particularly difficult moment, Durst’s film shows its penchant for the obvious. It is not that one expects subtlety in a thriller from this genre, but some originality........

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