PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Billy Halleck (Robert John Burke) is an obese, upper-class lawyer living with his wife Heidi (Lucinda Jenney) and their daughter Linda (Bethany Joy Lenz). Billy recently defended an underworld crime boss named Richie “The Hammer” Ginelli (Joe Mantegna) in court. The town he lives in is hosting a carnival, run by gypsies that the townspeople hold obvious prejudice against.

One night, while Billy is driving, Heidi performs a blowjob on him. Distracted, Billy accidentally runs over Suzanne Lempke (Irma St. Paule), an elderly gypsy woman, as she leaves a local pharmacy. Since Judge Cary Rossington (John Horton) is a personal friend of his, he soft-pedals the case, and no charges are filed against him. Outraged by the injustice, Suzanne’s 108-year-old father, Tadzu Lempke (Michael Constantine) curses Billy by touching his face and saying the word “thinner”. Billy begins to lose weight rapidly, regardless of how much he eats. Heidi, fearing the weight loss may be due to cancer, brings in Dr. Mike Houston (Sam Freed), with whom Billy suspects his wife is having an affair.

It is revealed that the man also cursed Judge Cary and Police Chief Duncan Hopely (Daniel von Bargen), who helped him avoid punishment in court. Cary, whose curse was “Lizard”, is now growing scales all over his body. Duncan, whose curse was “leper” becomes mutated with large boils and eventually commits suicide. Billy continues losing weight and calculates that he only has a few weeks to live. Billy looks for the gypsy carnival, to get Lempke to remove the curse, but they have gone.

When Heidi continually mentions Dr. Houston, who is repeatedly visiting their home, Billy is convinced of her affair. He lashes out at her and blames her for the accident. He finds the gypsy camp and tries to reason with Lempke, but instead angers him into increasing the curse’s effects. Gina, Lempke’s great-granddaughter (Kari Wuhrer), uses her slingshot to shoot a large ball bearing which goes directly through Billy’s hand. Billy is then forced to leave. After being informed of Cary’s suicide, Billy enlists Richie Ginelli’s help. Richie pays Frank Spurton (Josh Holland), a local man, to track down the gypsy camp. He then kills their dogs, and leaves a message demanding Billy’s curse be removed. In retaliation, Gina and her husband Gabe kill Frank. Richie brings a gun to the camp and begins shooting, then pushes Gabe out into the open to be accidentally shot and killed by his fellow gypsies. The next day, Richie and Billy kidnap Gina and force her to tell Lempke to meet them.

At the meeting, Lempke finds Billy emaciated and near death. To prevent further attacks on his people, he decides to lift the curse. Lempke explains that the curse cannot removed, only transferred to another person. Chanting a spell, he mixes Billy’s blood into a strawberry pie. Lempke states that after being consumed by an unsuspecting person, the pie causes painful but rapid death, and the curse will be lifted. He urges Billy to eat the pie himself and die with dignity, but Billy ignores him. He calls Linda, telling her to spend the night at her friend’s house, so that he and Heidi have the evening to themselves. He arrives home and presents to Heidi the strawberry pie, which happens to be her favorite flavor. She delightedly eats a piece, while Billy heads to bed, exhausted.

The next morning, Billy finds Heidi’s desiccated corpse next to him. He is gleeful to be free of the curse and of his disloyal wife. However, when he goes downstairs, he finds to his horror that Linda, who came home after he went to bed, had eaten some of the pie for breakfast. Wracked with guilt, he prepares to eat the rest of the pie. However, He is interrupted by Dr. Houston who is at the door. Seeing Billy, the doctor grows uncomfortable and struggles to explain his early and unannounced presence. Billy invites Houston in for a piece of pie, and closes the door with a smirk.


In today’s society, there is tremendous pressure to be thinner. Strange, if you think about it, though, because while Hollywood, magazines, and Michelle Obama may want us all to be anorexic looking, it seems as if most men are attracted to curvier women and many women fall for guys that have some muscles on them (not just bones). None of this has anything to do with Stephen King’s Thinner, but I couldn’t think of a better intro.

What is this about?

When an obese attorney accidentally runs over a gypsy woman, the victim’s father puts a curse on him that causes him to drop 40 pounds a week.

What did I like?

Weight concern. Many of my friends are losing weight these days. At least, if you go by the pictures they post daily on social media, that is what we would be meant to believe. I ma proud of them for doing it the right way. If ay of them ended up dropping 40 lbs in a week, there would be cause for concern, as this film steps into the realm of reality, as it were, to point out. No one should lose that amount of weight in the short of time, unless they have a tapeworm, disease, or some other kind of affliction. It just isn’t humanly possible.

Little town. Small towns are great for films like thins because you can focus on one family and occasionally see the other handful of people in town. In this case we see the judge, his wife, chief of police, and some people in a restaurant and that’s all. Compare that to if this took place in some place like New York, Chicago, L.A., or Seattle. We wouldn’t get to know the family as well as we could because there would be so much other clutter with trying to introduce us to everyone and their mother’s uncle’s cousin’s teacher’s mailman’s barber’s daughter’s beautician!

What didn’t I like?

Likability. One thing that I’ve noticed in my years of watching films (in any genre or era) is that there needs to be a likable hero or villain. For instance, in the first Thor, Loki is relatable and charismatic, despite his intentions, whereas Thor comes off as this cocky pretty boy for a good portion of the picture. In the case of this film, there isn’t one likable character, except maybe the daughter, and she only has 3 small scenes, barely enough to be called a character in this flick. I could list how they are all deplorable human beings, but that would take too much time. I’ll say this, Joe Mantegna plays a gangster accused of and shown to be ruthless and sadistic, and yet he is far from the worst character!

Fat suit. I’m a little torn on this. The film starts with the star, Robert John Burke, in a fat suit, because his character is supposed to be obese. Much like Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor, I believe the fakeness of this was done on purpose, because we know things are going to change as the film progresses. However, once Burke starts shrinking, we still see the attempt to make it look like he has sagging skin, but it looks more like churros growing from his neck. Speaking of food, why on Earth would they spend a good 5 minutes with him shoving food in his mouth in every scene? That was unnecessary!

Easy as pie. Not to spoil anything, but in the end the daughter has a piece of pie, and that’s almost the last thing we see before the credits roll. Given the nature of the pie, it seems as if something should or should not have happened to her, but nothing is said, mentioned, or shown, leaving us to wonder and theorize, I suppose.

Stephen King’s Thinner is not one of his best works, not is it one of his more popular adaptations. That being said, I can see why people like and hate this film. For me, I fall in the middle. There is potential with the gypsy curse and all, but everything around it, the characters, lack of interest, etc., made this a rather boring outing. Do I recommend it? No, try another King adaptation like It.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars


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