BLU REVIEW: Frankie Go Boom

THE SET-UP
Frank (Charlie Hunnam) has his world turned upside down when his loser brother Bruce (Chris O’Dowd) puts a video of his one night stand online. Also stars Lizzy Caplan, Chris Noth, Ron Perlman, and a pig.
Written and Directed by:  Jordan Roberts

THE DELIVERY
Frankie Go Boom boasts a pretty talented cast: Sons of Anarchy stars Charlie Hunnam and Ron Perlman, as well as Lizzy Caplan, Chris O’Dowd, and Chris Noth. Unfortunately, the film relies less on the characters or genuine humor for laughs, and more on uncomfortable situations and humiliation. With only a handful of exceptions, it doesn’t work. It’s really too bad, because there is a potentially enjoyable, quirky little comedy here. It is just buried under a number of groan-worthy scenes that make you wonder what director/screenwriter Jordan Roberts was thinking.

 

Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) is actually very good as the leading man, but he is surrounded by a bunch of over-the-top caricatures that don’t quite ring true. The only exception is Lizzy Caplan, who is delightfully schizophrenic as Lassie (yeah, you read that right), Frankie’s love interest. Even so, screenwriter/director Roberts can’t decide if Lassie is a little off her rocker (she’s a hysterical mess when we first see her) or the sensible voice of reason (which she is later on). Thankfully, Caplan is capable enough to balance the extremes into an appealing character. 

Lassie is the daughter of Jack (Chris Noth), a rehab-addicted actor who gives Frankie’s spoiled man-child brother Bruce (Chris O’Dowd) a shot at directing fame. Of course, Bruce posted a video of Frankie and Lassie’s one-night-stand on the internet without their knowledge. It isn’t the first time Bruce has posted a sexually-embarrassing video of Frankie online, but this time, it not only could undermine Bruce’s ambitions, but the budding relationship between Frankie and Lassie as well.

It does create some funny situations in which Frankie and Bruce try to get a DVD of the video back and get it offline. However, things get derailed by subplots involving Frankie and Bruce’s parents, as well as a couple who wants Bruce to direct a movie about angels. They just don’t generate the laughs the film needed.

Chris Noth has a few funny scenes, but he is so over-the-top, it feels like a bad Gary Busey impersonation. Ron Perlman is downright embarrassing playing against type as a transvestite hacker. Why, Hellboy, why?

The straw that breaks the camel’s back is the appearance by Whitney Cummings, the banshee/scarecrow who has made a career trying to convince us she is both sexy and funny. Wrong on both counts. Here, she is unbearable as – you guessed it – a porn star.

When the focus is on the chemistry between Hunnam and Caplan, the film works well. Beyond that, the film struggles mightily. I wanted to enjoy this film more. I would just have to ditch my soul to do so. Frankie Go Bust. 

VIDEO AND AUDIO
The high definition digital transfer is excellent, with top-shelf sharpness and natural color reproduction.  While it all looks great, it does have drawbacks. You should never have to see both Chris Noth’s and Ron Perlman’s bare butts in high definition. Audio is a solid 5.1 DTS-HD mix, with good clarity and separation of the channels.

SPECIAL FEATURES

 A “behind the scenes” featurette includes interviews with some of the cast. Six deleted or alternate scenes are included, each with an introduction by director Jordan Roberts. A few laughs, but you can see why they were cut. The “Pig in the Pool” featurette focuses on the pig that is used for one of the film’s signature scenes. A trailer rounds out the extras.  

THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?
Movie: 5
Video: 8
Audio: 7
Extras: 6
Overall Grade: 6.5 
Frankie Go Boom could have been so much more, but a sub-par script and lackluster direction from Jordan Roberts lets the very good cast down. It’s has a few laughs, but not as many as you expect. Just wait for Netflix to watch this.

BLU-RAY SPECS
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Rating: Not rated
Running time: 89 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English DTS-HD 5.1
Subtitles: Spanish, French
Special features: Behind the Scenes featurette, Six deleted and alternate scenes, “Pig in the Pool” featurette, Theatrical trailer
Click here to order Frankie Go Boom on Blu-ray from Amazon!