- 0 OUT OF 5 PLUGS
Never mind that they babble on endlessly about the most inane things, or that they call their podcast the Not-See Party. Somehow Wallace Bryton and Teddy Craft earn big bucks doing it, and they've scooped up quite a lot of Internet fame as well.
That name of the show? Oh, it's derived from Wallace zipping around interviewing quirky oddballs while Teddy always stays home. Then Wallace shares his wacky experiences with Teddy on the podcast.
Get it? "Not-See," because Teddy hasn't seen it yet, and, of course, because it sounds like "Nazi"? See what they did there? Oh, it's rich, right?!
Anyway, Wallace's new pet project is to interview some kid in Canada they've dubbed "The Kill Bill Kid." It seems this dude … oh, this'll kill ya! … was going through some kind of katana sword routine when he actually cut off his own leg. That's funny, funny stuff, Wallace thinks. The YouTube vid is a gruesome, uh, "slice" of "hilarity" that's already had tens of thousands of hits. Teddy almost bust a gut when he saw that one.
The only problem is that when Wallace shows up in Manitoba, he finds out the kid's taken his own life for some stupid reason. Which really crumples up Wallace's calendar. Com'on, he figures, why couldn't the guy wait a day to off himself so they could get a decent podcast out of the deal?
After drowning his sorrows at some hole-in-the-wall dive, Wallace stumbles upon a possible replacement act. There's a letter pinned up on a corkboard over the bathroom urinal from some old kook in a town called Bifrost. This chap says he's an aged mariner with oodles of stories to share about war and world-traveling adventures—right along with a free spare room in his stately manor.
This could be a treasure trove of podcast gold!
And, indeed, once Wallace makes his way to the out-in-the-sticks estate, he finds one Howard Howe to be everything he's hoped for. The mild-mannered gent is full of yarns of meeting Earnest Hemmingway, being lost at sea—and get this, being rescued by a warm and loving walrus. Wallace could go on jawing with this nutter for days, except … that is … after drinking the tea the guy made … Wallace is getting a bit … dizzy.
And then he conks out cold.
When he wakes, who knows how long afterwards, he's strapped into a wheelchair and feeling kinda odd. Old Howie is going on about Wallace being bitten by a spider and a doctor coming by. And he keeps referring back to that crazy walrus story. The walrus named Mr. Tusk …
It all feels so bizarre.
And his phone. Where's his phone?
That's about the point when the groggy Wallace realizes something more important is also missing.
His left leg.
So do you think Wallace is still laughing now?
Wallace's girlfriend, Ali, tells him that his podcast gig is changing him for the worse. "Your cringe humor attack s--- is lame," she says. And that insane butcher Howard Howe laments, "The best of man has been lobotomized by reality TV." In a way, then, when the film rubs our noses in the bloody messes and grotesqueries that Wallace and Teddy hee-haw over—and the even worse twisted horrors that Wallace later finds himself on the receiving end of—it could be said there's a point being made about the caustic coarsening of our media culture.
(But that's Plugged In talking now, not the movie. Because, watching, we're still expected to keep laughing even after Wallace stops.)
Of course both Ali and Teddy gamely charge into danger to hopefully save Wallace.
Howard rails against the Catholic priests and nuns who ran the orphanage he was raised in.
Wallace has crude-to-obscene conversations with both Teddy and Ali about masturbation, oral sex and premature ejaculation. The first time we meet Ali, she and Wallace are in bed in their underwear, and she's stimulating him orally. (We see his enraptured reactions.) We also find out that Wallace has been having sex with fangirls when he heads off on his trips. In like manner, Ali's been sleeping with Teddy when Wallace is out of town. We see her stripping off her clothes as they're getting ready for bed, and she's wearing a crop top T-shirt and a brief pair of shorts when she hops out in the morning.
Wallace and Howard have a lengthy discussion about a walrus's baculum bone and the structure of the creature's penis. Howard talks about being raped and molested by priests and nuns as a child.
As mentioned, we see an awkward boy flailing about with a sharp sword, accidentally severing his leg and spraying his garage with gruesome spouts of blood. But the things that soon start happening to Wallace make all that seem like a Sesame Street skit.
Howard systematically begins lopping off the podcaster's body parts, stitching him back up with rough-hewn thread. The skin of the young man's torso is stretched, sewn and fused. Both his legs and his tongue are hideously removed. (As if there's any other way.) His leg bones are then fused to his upper jaw to represent tusks. And eventually Wallace is wholly sewn into a large pseudo-walrus suit made out of the flesh, bone and fat of other human victims Howard has already skinned. (We can see ears and sewn-shut eyelids in the pieced-together skin suit.)
Howard also starves and tortures Wallace with beatings and near-drownings to get him to follow his preset "walrus rules." While being pulled under in a pool of water, Wallace spots another man-walrus dead and decaying off to the side. Wallace and Howard eventually go head-to-head, quite literally, and the now beast-looking Wallace bloodily and repeatedly impales the older man with his "tusks."
Crude or Profane Language
More than 50 f-words and 30 s-words. God's and Jesus' names are together misused a dozen times (God's getting combined with "d--n" twice). Crude references are made to various kinds of genitalia.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Howard serves Wallace tea that's been steeped in alcohol and infused with some kind of knockout drug. Then Wallace is kept immobile and controllable with a steady diet of morphine.
Howard tells of giving Hemmingway a bottle of booze during the war. Wallace drinks beer at a bar. One of his ringtones is a short clip of a song that insists, "Com'on now, more margaritas!" A cop on the case, Lapointe, pours booze from a flask into his milkshake. Wallace smokes, and he talks about his chain-smoking grandmother.
Other Negative Elements
Believe it or not, this is a movie that grew out of a real-life podcast joke. If you know that little factoid and, I suppose, are in possession of the right combination of brain- and soul-numbing substances, and you have the ability to belly laugh every time you see someone being tormented, maimed and tortured, well, then you might almost get the black, black humor at play here.
The story goes that director Kevin Smith (already infamous for moviemaking madnesses like Clerks and Clerks II, Dogma and Zack and Miri Make a Porno) and his longtime friend and producer Scott Mosier happened upon the idea for the pic while discussing a room-for-rent ad on their own weekly podcast—that they call SModcast. The homeowner, in the ad, was offering his spare room free of charge if a renter would agree to dress up in a homemade walrus outfit for an hour or two per day.
From there, the raucous pair of commentators chuckled themselves silly concocting a horror-meets-comedy tale about the man with a room, a walrus suit and a cryptic ad. The ad turned out to be nothing but a prank, by the way, but when Smith and Mosier asked their Twitter followers to tweet "#WalrusYes" if they wanted to see their hypothetical script turned into the next Kevin Smith "masterpiece," thousands did so.
It's enough to make me wish the Internet itself had never been invented. But since it was, then all I can say now is:
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Justin Long as Wallace Bryton; Michael Parks as Howard Howe; Haley Joel Osment as Teddy Craft; Genesis Rodriguez as Ali Leon; Johnny Depp as Guy Lapointe
September 19, 2014
December 30, 2014