Vulgar Movie Review

The clown business has always been ripe with humor potential. Why, consider the mastery behind such films as Quick Change, Problem Child, Death to Smoochy, and Killer Klowns from Outer Space -- all of which rely on clown humor. Vulgar kicks it up a notch from these "classics," by giving us a kiddie clown by the name of Flappy who decides he can make extra money by dressing up in his clown makeup and women's clothing and appearing as gag entertainment at bachelor parties.

On his very first assignment, "Vulgar," as he goes by after hours, finds himself beaten and gang raped by a group of horny guys. Oops. No sooner has Vulgar/Flappy recovered than he saves a young girl from her murderous father, lands on the talk show circuit, and soon is offered his own kids' TV show. Soon enough, the hillbilly types catch up with him and attempt to blackmail him for the inevitable videotape of the night. Pulp Fiction-style revenge ensues.

Unfortunatley, clowning star Brian O'Halloran couldn't exactly act in Clerks (he played Dante) and he still can't do it here in Vulgar. The production is typical of the Kevin Smith universe, with outrageous raunchiness, an impossible story, and the usual cast of characters -- including bit parts from Jason Mewes (Jay) and Smith himself. No one so much as bothers to build any subtext into their characters; they're phoning it in, without apology, knowing full well that the Cult of Kevin Smith will eat up anything Kevin & Co. deign to spit at them.

As much as it pains me to say it, Vulgar isn't as bad as it sounds. It's overly graphic -- carefully crafted to be truly disgusting on order to appeal to the trash-obsessed comic book crowd -- to the point where the attempts at comedy are lost. But it has a scrappy charm -- sometimes -- which comes through its desire to gross you out. I can't say I enjoyed it (and my wife tried to make me turn it off altogether), but I'm sure there's a teenage boy out there somewhere who's dying for this kind of entertainment.

DVD includes deleted scenes, a featurette (about the making Dogma, not about Vulgar!), and a commentary track on the unrated version of the disc. The film festival rejection letters are amusing but unenlightening (hey, I have copies of all these myself!).

What's with the tip?

Comments

Vulgar Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 2000

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