Review: 3, 2, 1…Frankie Go Boom

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

PLOT:  Frankie (Charlie Hunnam), a struggling writer, has spent his life being tortured and humiliated by his older brother, Bruce (Chris O’Dowd), a drug-addicted aspiring filmmaker with a warped conscience.  Living alone in the desert, Frankie is trying to stay away from his family and get his life together after a nasty revelation at his wedding (which was recorded and broadcast on the internet).  He’s pulled back in when Bruce is set to leave rehab, which leads to a chance encounter with a distraught, half-naked girl (Lizzy Caplan), a sex tape, a crazy washed-up gun-toting actor (Chris Noth), angels, a drowning pig, and a transsexual computer hacker (Ron Perlman), all of which causes Frankie to most definitely go boom.

REVIEW:  3, 2, 1…FRANKIE GO BOOM is the perfect kind of romcom for guys being dragged to romcoms.  It doesn’t come off as one when you see the trailer, but its intentions to deliver a love story are made clear pretty early on.  And that’s not a bad thing, given the absolute craziness that transpires in the course of the film.  Charlie Hunnam stars as Frankie and it’s the first role I’ve where the actor isn’t playing a badass or a crazy psycho.  The vulnerability that he portrays is really refreshing, because he’s a “good guy” all the way to the point of being a bit of a pussy.  And Hunnam pulls it off exceptionally, with a surprising amount of comedic timing that is rarely seen from him. 

O’Dowd as Bruce is awesome playing the asshole brother who means well, but always with an ulterior motive.  He’s been on a roll since emerging on the scene with BRIDESMAIDS, and the stone doesn’t stop on the hill here; O’Dowd is right at home as a conniving manipulator.  When Bruce “graduates” from rehab, Frankie reluctantly agrees to go, regretting it instantly, especially since his overbearing parents are there (brilliantly played by Nora Dunn and Sam Anderson).  In rehab, Bruce made friends with a washed-up actor (Noth), who is seeking every opportunity to start a new career or to score some sex off his waning popularity.  Noth is clearly having a blast playing against his usual clean-cut, nice guy persona and it’s a blast to see, especially given the shit he causes throughout.

The trouble starts when Frankie is blindsided by a drunk, half-naked chick on a bike (Caplan) that he brings back to his parents house. There the distraught girl, Lassie (yes, like the dog), proceeds to take advantage of Frankie, but with mixed results, which, of course are captured on video by the ever-loving Bruce and his slutty girlfriend, Claudia (Whitney Cummings).  Naturally, where Bruce sees opportunity, Frankie sees humiliation, and the hunt for the “sex tape” becomes top priority in both of their lives, especially after Bruce drops it off at his actor friend’s house to take a look.  Frankie wants nothing more than to avoid a repeat of his wedding video and Bruce wants nothing more than to appear as concerned, when all he really wants to do is exploit it.

What follows is a mad-cap chase across town to locate the DVD, which seems to fall into all the wrong hands again and again (including an upload to the internet), leading to fistfights, attacks from blind old men, a visit to a lamp porn warehouse (no, really), and a visit with a transsexual computer hacker, who was once a cellmate of Bruce’s.  Played by Ron Perlman with hilarious fright, “Phyllis” is happy to help get the video off the Internet (which is updated with a hit count tally throughout the film), but not without a price, one which Frankie is reluctant to pay.  The scenes between Hunnam and Perlman are especially hilarious for fans of their characters on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, as the dynamic is night and day, compounding the awkward scenes even more. You can tell they had a ball working on this together and the moment where Frankie has a look under Phyllis’ “hood” had me in stitches. 

Complications deepen when Bruce makes a deal with a pair of financiers who can “see” angels and hire him to “remake” the “sex tape” as a film, while Frankie does his best to damage control the video and attempt to date Lassie, with whom he finds a strong connection. Writer/director Jordan Roberts doesn’t reinvent the wheel here, but he does bring some raunchy charm to the pic, which is much appreciated.  Okay, so Lizzy Caplan and Whitney Cummings spending the majority of the film in their underwear doesn’t hurt things, but there’s plenty more to glean from this silly romcom adventure.

It may seem familiar at times, but there’s so much weird shit in 3, 2, 1…FRANKIE GO BOOM, that I was chuckling from start to finish and laughing out loud many times, usually followed by a “Oh, hell no…” There’s plenty of absurdity and wacky hijinks, but the film stays the course as an oddball, comedy shocker with heart, if even a twisted one.  I love comedies that take you down the crazy road and tease you to the point of thinking they may cross the line, but bring it back to still let you give a shit about the characters.  With 3, 2, 1…FRANKIE GO BOOM, you get the sour, the sweet, the crazy, and the cute, all in one.  It may not be a classic, but it’s a ridiculously crazy good time and one I look forward to seeing again.

3, 2, 1…FRANKIE GO BOOM is currently on iTunes with a limited theatrical run starting on October 12, 2012.




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