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Vulgar (2002)
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Review Date: August 31, 2002
Director: Bryan Johnson
Writer: Bryan Johnson
Producers: Monica Hampton
Actors:
Brian O'Halloran
Bryan Johnson
Kevin Smith
Plot:
A down-on-his-luck children's party clown comes up with the bright idea of doing "adult bachelor parties" as another means of making money, and subsequently gets anal-raped by three extremely disturbed gentlemen at his first gig. Devastated after the unspeakable event, the clown attempts to piece together what remains of his dignity and life. Vulgarity ensues.
Critique:
Oh my God! For anyone who actually thought that any of the rinky-dink "dark humor" in DEATH TO SMOOCHY was offensive to kids or clowns in general, the objectionable core of this movie is sure to have you bleeding from the eyes in comparison. I'm very open-minded to just about anything when it comes to movies, but even I was taken aback when the "nice guy" clown was beaten, verbally massacred and anally-raped by three sick men in one particularly horrifying sequence of this film. I thought the "rape" scene from IRREVERSIBLE was hard to stomach, but watching a father and his two Beavis and Butthead sons, abuse a clown for kicks just ain't right, folks. But before you can say DELIVERANCE, the film actually managed to sell me on its premise and much of that had to do with the acting performance given by Brian O'Halloran, who isn't always as "on" as you'd like him to be, but let me tell you...when the moments count...he makes you a believer! The most poignant scenes in the picture are the ones immediately after the "event" in question and O'Halloran comes through gangbusters. The dude must've been channeling some kind of childhood trauma of his own or something because I bought the man's immense pain/shame...hook, line and sinker. The main problems with the film are that it really doesn't have much of a plot (the clown gets raped and must deal with it-more or less), the dialogue isn't altogether sharp and sounds like it's trying too hard to be like "Kevin Smith" at times and a handful of scenes just go on for too long. It also features some noticeably inferior acting, particularly from the best friend character of Syd, played unwisely by the writer/director of the film, Bryan Johnson.

The character of the mother is also ridiculously over-the-top and one-dimensional (Shut the fuck up already, bitch!!) and the "bad guys" are just plain "bad" with no implicit reason given (by the way, I use the word "bad" very loosely here-they're actually three of the most psychotically deranged individuals that I have ever seen characterized on screen). But the good outweighs the bad, including and foremost, the fact that the actual premise of the film is as audacious as they come (pun intended?) and I was surprised to find that I actually felt sorry for the lead guy. By the end of the movie, I was practically rooting for him like he was Rudy! There were also a few decent one-liners, cameos by the View Askew regulars including Kevin Smith (sans beard and gay!) and Jason Mewes, cute inside references (my fave is when the clown calls Ms. Affleck up and speaks to Bennie) and some competent directing, especially when you consider the low budget of the flick: the rape scene was particularly well handled, credible and justifiably surreal. The creepy clown make-up and outfit were also a nice touch but don't go in expecting a "comedy" because despite some lighter moments, it's really more of a "horror show" than anything. The film is not going to save the whales or bring peace to the Middle East, but if you're in the mood to see some seriously fucked up shit that comes together in a karmic way in the end...rent this movie and prepare to be deeply disturbed by what you are going to witness (I believe that shock-jock Howard Stern himself called this movie too sick...even for him!) You've been warned.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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