A movie like Butt Boy is impossible to review, in the traditional sense. To critique any piece of media properly, there has to be some sort of measuring stick, some sort of preexisting gauge of quality, some kind of comparative referential point. Needless to say, none of those objective standards are applicable to writer/director/lead actor Tyler Cornack’s latest passion project. Simply put, Butt Boy is a movie that exists in a separate plane of existence, this bizarre pop cultural ephemera that doesn’t fit into anyone one genre classification. Calling Butt Boy good or bad is an exercise in futility on a cosmic scale — simply trying to make sense of the movie, let alone iron out its worthiness as an artistic expression, is like being asked to describe what the Big Bang tasted like.
Now, with a title as crass as Butt Boy, you might expect the film to be a fairly tongue in cheek (but, uh, not that kind of cheek) parody a’la Killer Condom or Troma’s beloved family favorite from 1997, Buttcrack! But no, for the most part, Butt Boy is a movie that takes itself very seriously, despite its almost Baudrillarian premise. Ultimately, this is a movie that feels more like it’s trying to imitate David Fincher than John Waters, and the execution — to put it delicately — leaves a lot to be desired.
The film follows everyman Chip Gutchel, your prototypically late 1990s disenchanted office drone, who has a proclivity for tuning out whenever his cubicle mates sing “Happy Birthday” or his wife chastises him for losing the remote control. Indeed, Chip seems like a carbon copy of Ed Norton’s character in Fight Club, with one major discrepancy — simply put, his bunghole is a portal to some sort of alternate reality netherworld.
So yeah, right about there is where I’d surmise this is going to lose a good 50-to-80-percent of its audience. It’s not that the concept is so outrageous as it is the way the filmmakers incorporated it as a plot dynamic. In fact, we’re almost an hour into the movie before the story gives us concrete proof that Chip’s poop chute is a gateway to interdimensional damnation, so up until that point the audience has to play this monotonous guessing game just teeming with red herrings and needless subplots. At a certain point, you think the movie’s going to turn a corner and try to become a relatively straight-laced killer-on-the-loose feature, but it just continues to waffle on that uncomfortable line between genuine procedural detective movie and … well, a movie about a guy whose dookie factory is a telepod to Hell, that is.
I’m not joking about this movie turning into a detective movie. Around the 30-minute mark, we’re introduced to our other leading man, officer Russell Fox (played by Tyler Rice), a greasy-haired, recovering alcoholic whose sponsor just so happens to be the titular character with the extra-dimensional anus. And as fate would have it, Fox ends up taking on the case of a missing child, who — inexplicably — vanished without a trace from the face of the planet … not that you can even remotely predict where that plot point is going.
Amazingly, the biggest problem with Butt Boy is that it takes itself too seriously. All movie long, you wait for things to finally go over the top, and to the filmmakers’ credit, the grand finale is pretty satisfying (if not altogether stomach-churning.) But the grinding road to the payoff just drags on for too long for the special-effects-laden ending to make up for the earlier ennui; that is, unless you think the visual of puppy dogs with beef stew chunks matter in their fur is something you’d easily spend 80 minutes waiting for, naturally.
That said, there is a lot of good to be said about Butt Boy. Considering the budget restrictions, the cinematography is downright excellent, and whomever is responsible for the editing could probably get a job at a big name Hollywood studio. And the acting in the movie — especially from the two leads — is way above average for the genre, although I’m still not entirely sure what that genre may be.
As a full-fledged motion picture, I’m afraid Butt Boy is more of a failure than a success. But as a demonstration of sheer talent and filmmaking potential, it’s possibly worth going out of your way to see. There’s no denying the people responsible for Butt Boy have the technical stuff down to make a truly great movie — now let’s see if they can dream up a real script to showcase their talents.
Wicked Horror Rating: 5/10
Director: Tyler Cornack
Writer: Tyler Cornack and Ryan Koch
Starring: Tyler Cornack, Tyler Rice, Shelby Dash, Brad Potts
Release: April 14
Studio: Epic Pictures
Runtime: 100 minutes