Sucker Punch is the most expensive piece of pornography to come out on the big screen. Not that I'm a regular viewer of porn, mind you. But much like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said, "I know it when I see it."
Sucker Punch introduces the newest porn genre to date: PG-porn, in which the PG stands for Preening Garbage. The danger is that a PG-13 rating allows pre-pubescent boys and girls to see young women sexualized in every unhealthy way possible. After watching this film, young boys, though titillated, might be messed up for life. Young girls, falsely assuming that watching chicks with guns is somehow empowering, will hopefully see right through a movie that is nothing more than the imagining of some middle-aged pervert.
Sucker Punch is a fantasy seen through the mind's eye of a young woman who is abused and orphaned before the opening credits finish. Emily Browning (Uninvited) plays Babydoll, a young woman shipped off to a mental institution, which doubles as a house of horrors, which doubles as a house of whores. That's a lot of doubles with a single intention: to debase young women. Sucker Punch's mental patients, all women, are adorned with too much eyeliner and too few clothes. In a bizarre and embarrassing performance, Carla Gugino plays Dr. Vera Gorski/Mrs. Shultz, a psychologist in the real world and a ballet instructor in the fantasy one who prefers S & M wear to a lab coat or a leotard. Gugino must have lost a bet to writer/director Zack Snyder: She previously shamed herself in Snyder's Watchmen.
Rounding out the cast are other young ladies who can hopefully someday forget this debacle: Abbie Cornish (Limitless), Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) and Jena Malone (Stepmom). Their costumes become skimpier while their weapons become more grandiose. Scott Glenn (The Silence of the Lambs) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) join the what-were-they-thinking club.
Babydoll and her fellow whack-jobs act as sexual playthings for the asylum's staff and the town's sex-crazed hoi polloi. To escape the exploitation, the girls retreat into daydreams that are, in fact, more exploitative. Without smearing any makeup or staining their bustiers, the vixen warriors blast and maim their way through a series of fantasies. In one particularly insulting scene, they disgrace any man and woman in uniform by strutting their way through a World War I re-enactment.
Glancing around the packed movie theater (anything to avoid looking at the screen), I recognized that the audience for Sucker Punch was an embarrassing amalgam of over-aged fan boys, young kids with chagrined parents and date-night couples who clearly made the wrong choice.
All in all, Sucker Punch is an epic. Epically offensive.