FILM REVIEW: BUTT BOY
What’s in a name? That’s the first thing I asked myself when I received my screener copy for Epic Pictures BUTT BOY. An unusual name indeed. What would follow would be an even more unusual experience making an effort to live up to that name. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m not exactly sure if I liked it, but it was most certainly unique.
BUTT BOY is the story of a man named Chip Gutchel (Tyler Cornack) with an odd sexual fetish. He doesn’t begin the film with these strange sexual proclivities, but they develop after one fateful visit to his proctologist. The doctor is a cold and unsympathetic man who basically jams his gloved hand into Chips backside without warning. To most of us this would be an unwelcome surprise to say the least, but for Chip, his facial expression shows pure ecstasy. It isn’t until he gets home that things take an unexpected turn. It changes him almost instantly. Chip starts “small” by putting things like bars of soap and remote controls up his arse to achieve that same sexual high. Rest assured that things are about to escalate.
Chip’s marriage is failing, and he sees this new thing as a way to get his rocks off, since his wife Anne (Shelby Dash) is most likely cheating on him. We can make this assumption by the way she treats Chip, as well as a phone call or two with an unknown party that looks a little too friendly. Chip and his wife have sex, but it is very mechanical and emotionless. Something is clearly missing for both of them. It’s later that night that the family dog goes missing. Are we to assume that Chip has somehow stuffed the dog into his rectum? Yes…yes we are! Don’t worry about the how, I don’t know that it’s ever really made clear. It isn’t until a child goes missing, that the film dips its toes into the horror/sci-fi realm.
A number of years later, it seems that Chip has gotten his addiction under control by attending AA meetings. He’s not a drunk, but he’s an addict of sorts. It seems to be working for now, but things are about to change. Enter Detective Russel Fox (Tyler Rice). Detective Fox is an alcoholic, and a caricature of every detective from every film ever. Chip even mentions this to him, when he is picked to be Russel’s sponsor against his wishes. For some reason, this turn of events sets Chip’s real addiction back into motion. That night in fact, Chip returns home and begins sticking new objects into his ass. How about a spatula… flat end first? How about a lightbulb? Nothing is out of bounds, or as we’ll see, out of the realm of reality.
Chip’s renewed vigor in his old problem makes him a ghost at AA. He leaves Russel high and dry, and never answers his calls like he’s supposed to. This makes Russel curious to learn more about Chip. Nothing too sinister shows up, but as a detective, there’s just an itch there that he can’t scratch. Everything comes to a head when Chip’s work hosts a “bring your child to work” day. Chip’s boss, in an attempt to keep these kids busy, organizes an office wide game of hide and seek. We see a young boy slide under Chip’s desk, and the expression on Chip’s face tells us all we need to know. Is this child going to meet Chip’s “business” end? Yes…yes he is. Another missing child case…Too many coincidences for Russel to ignore.
BUTT BOY is an absurdist/comedy/sci-fi/thriller. I know that’s a mouthful. It’s simply unlike anything I’ve really seen before. I usually try to compare films to other films to give the reader a tonal reference. Every time I tried to do that with BUTT BOY it sort of subverted my initial read. I guess, if pushed, I’d say it’s somewhere in the vein of THE GREASY STRANGLER, TIM & ERIC, or maybe even the 2014 Astron-6 directed horror/comedy THE EDITOR. All absurd, all weird, but all of those are some kind of counter-culture genius. Not everyone will agree with that read, but it’s the closest I can get to putting my finger on a pulse.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure if I fully understood BUTT BOY or really even liked it…but I found myself thinking about it. It definitely got under my skin and sparked some quest in my mind to make sense of what I had just seen. Again, I still don’t think I’m there. It was just so damn weird that I have to admire that it’s seeing distribution to the masses at all. BUTT BOY was a part of last year’s Fantastic Fest, and I know from friends and colleagues that this film was one that was very divisive. Even among people I trust, the consensus was all over the place. If you’re a fan of absurdist comedy/cinema…this is for you!! That being said, it’s definitely not for all tastes. I say you should decide for yourself if it’s the type of weirdness you like. If it seems like it is, you probably will. If you hate it, just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
BUTT BOY is making its debut on April 14th on all VOD platforms.
“If you’re a fan of absurdist comedy/cinema…BUTT BOY is for you!”
2 ½ Tombstones out of 5….