3, 2, 1... Frankie Go Boom full movie review - A Few Fun Moments but It Tries Too Hard
Every so often, you'll find a fun little independent comedy that comes along and blows every mainstream, nation-wide release out of the water for that year.
FRANKIE GO BOOM is not one of these movies. It is a comedy and it does have a little bit of fun to it, but for the most part the movie is one of those middle of the road mediocre comedies that will easily find itself forgotten before it's ever really noticed. This is what makes FRANKIE GO BOOM so disappointing: it's not good and it's not bad enough to be fun. Watching this movie, I cracked a few smiles and might have even chuckled a few times but, when I try to remember any particular standout moment from the movie, I only come up with the nightmarish image of Ron Perlman's butt. This is not the response a good comedy wants from its audience. For those unaware, FRANKIE GO BOOM is about a writer (the titular Frankie, played by Charlie Hunnam) and his ex-drug addict, aspiring filmmaker brother Bruce (Chris O'Dowd). Frankie is called home from his isolated trailer in the middle of Death Valley, where he lives after having been humiliated at his own wedding by his brother. Bruce has spent his entire life tormenting his brother on film, and Frankie is horrified to discover that his brother hasn't given up his film obsession. He almost believes that Bruce might've changed his ways but a chance meeting with a beautiful woman (Lizzy Caplan) and a night of problematic loving leads to the realization that Bruce might've caught the entire embarrassing event on tape. And soon that tape makes its to the Internet and the hands of Bruce's unstable fellow recovering addict (Chris Noth) who happens to be that woman's father. Prepare for a forgettable adventure as Frankie and Bruce try to stop that tape from ruining Frankie's budding relationship or, you know, getting them killed at the hands of a violent psychopath.
I needed a second viewing to determine that this movie wasn't just offensively boring. There are a few funny moments here. I don't remember exactly where they were though. The movie is filled with things that expected to be funny, just because. You might need an example to understand what I'm talking about: Jack, Bruce's addict/actor friend, owns a pet pig. Pigs are funny, yes? Not enough? All right, the pig is launched into a pool and proceeds to throw up on Frankie before his date with Lassie (Lizzy Caplan's character, not the collie). There's no real joke. Just a pig nearly drowning and then puking on Frankie. I get the same vibe from Ron Perlman's character, a post-op transgender ex-convict named Phyllis. We're supposed to laugh because it's Rob Perlman, an admittedly rough-looking dude, in drag. Very bad drag. Phyllis goes on to chat about his/her former genitals kept in a jar and becoming very upset when Frankie doesn't want to see them. This is the whole joke: a particularly unattractive transgender person pushing an uncomfortable man into seeing his pickled junk. There are a lot of little moments like this in the movie, and it doesn't make for a real laugh-out-loud sort of comedy.
It's a shame this movie is so tame because the ingredients are all there for a real fun time. Chris O'Dowd is great. I've been catch more and more of his work since first seeing him as the love interest in BRIDESMAIDS (for the record, the BBC's "The IT Crowd" is great). The problem with his character Bruce is that he's, you know, a sociopath. You almost become as frustrated watching him as Frankie does dealing with him. I find it hard to believe that Bruce doesn't understand the problem with what he does. He becomes a caricature. So does Frankie. Frankie (Hunnam) is pretty one-dimensional. He's just the 'frustrated sibling'? grumbling, sighing, and throwing his hands into the air in exasperation. He doesn't bring anything interesting to the character, though I imagine that's more the writer/director Jordan Roberts' fault. There is no depth to the characters and the movie plods along from gag to gag while eliciting no more than a few chuckles. FRANKIE GOES BOOM wants to be a comedy in the vein of HAROLD & KUMAR but it doesn't come close. The one element of the film that goes so far as to aggravate me is the nonsensical resolution. We spend the entire movie with these two clowns as they chase down anyone that might be able to help them take the movie off-line and prevent Jack from seeing it, and the ending we're given makes no sense whatsoever. I can tell Roberts must have had some problems coming up with a good ending for his movie, so he had a few drinks to help him finish it and just shot whatever ramblings he woke up to in the morning.
FRANKIE GO BOOM is a movie that has come and gone before most people probably had a chance to realize it existed. There is a lot of potential here and it sucks to see it go nowhere, especially when there are some talent people in the cast. Frankie doesn't go boom because FRANKIE is, well, a dud.