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The Road to Wellville

If you're tickled by rectal complaints, this film of T Coraghessan Boyle's novel about Dr Kellogg and his turn-of-the-century sanitarium is the movie for you. It's an ensemble piece, but the real star is the re-creation of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, replete with sitz baths, a Fecal Analysis room, and enemas on the hour. Alan Parker has the true cartoonist's eye for the juxtapositioning of wobbly flesh and corrective machinery, and Hopkins' Kellogg does nothing to let him down. All bounce and buck teeth, this Cornflake King is a splendid comic creation, though his adopted son (Carvey) errs on the side of Fungus the Bogeyman. The stories are less interesting than the setting, with constipated Will (Broderick) and his sexually curious wife (Fonda) the victims of, respectively, colonic irrigation and a fraudulent clitoris expert. Battle Creek, Michigan, was like a gold-rush town in 1907, with rival cereal manufacturers battling to dominate the credulous market - clearly an appealing pathology to an old socialist like Parker, but sloppily rendered here. Still, an amusing farce.

Release details

Duration: 120 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Alan Parker
Screenwriter: Alan Parker
Cast: Anthony Hopkins
Bridget Fonda
Matthew Broderick
John Cusack
Dana Carvey
Michael Lerner
John Neville
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