Thursday 26 July 2012

New Film Review!

Is there a director alive that can boast the kind of talent that Weirdo Blatt has shown in the six films he’s made in only six years as a filmmaker? Any discussion of the best films of the last decade has to include Blatt’s 2006 debut I Done Ate Too Many Goshdurned Fancy Chocolates, starring heartthrob Ticket Mackelfish as a would-be rabbit assassin who becomes a rabbit himself, or 2008’s Kachung Kachung Kachung Kachung Kachung, a stop-motion animated film in which a butcher spends 80 minutes angrily impersonating his mother inside a dumpster. I wish I could say that his new film If Anyone Is Entitled to Eat a Block of Cheese During Jury Duty It’s Me, Dad!!! continues this pattern of excellence. Unfortunately, it represents the first serious misstep in Blatt’s filmography. 

The movie chronicles a week in the life of Stan Uglee, played with far too many loud burps by serial killer turned movie star Craig Stop. Uglee is a forty year old underachiever who helps his parents with their business selling opinionated ducks to cyborg basketball players, a plot detail that is especially confusing since the film is set in 1942. Uglee constantly bemoans his lot in life, when he isn’t grabbing his breasts and honking them loudly, an act that occurs only in what are supposed to be the most moving and dramatic scenes. As one might expect, this entirely undercuts the power of the film, as does the fact that it was filmed in black and white and then colored entirely in purple crayon.

The film’s main flaw, however, lies in the romantic subplot in which Uglee becomes enamored with a neighborhood dog masseuse named Krustee Empress (played by a large birch tree smeared with lipstick). The scenes between these two would-be lovers manage to be both treacly and incoherent, mainly because the birch tree cannot talk and no voiceover is supplied for it. This is especially damaging to the film’s final scene, a fifteen-minute monologue in which the birch tree presumably tells Uglee something very important about how it feels, although we have no way of knowing what exactly. 

Another major blunder is the film’s score, which is composed entirely of messages that Blatt himself left on his ex-girlfriend’s answering machine in the late nineties, played at a volume that often drowns out the movie’s dialogue. This would be a huge detriment to other films, but the writing here is so putrid the distraction comes as a relief. (Sample exchange: “I gots snot runnin’ down to my toes.” “THAT AIN’T NO REASON NOT TO GO TO COLLEGE!!!!”.) The only bright spot in this dismal cinematic affair is the closing credits, which, instead of being projected onscreen, are screamed in the face of each audience member by a professional Tom Waits impersonator with whiskey breath.

Ultimately, while this is an ambitious work, it also made me angry and a little stupid. In ranking this movie using my trademark 10-crotch rating system, I give it 5 and a half pelvis pennies out of 8 ¾ disco thrusts, which is very bad indeed. Me no like this thing! 

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