Butt Boy

***1/2

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Butt Boy
"Whatever else you think of it, it’s clearly a labour of love."

Meet Chip. He’s just an average middle aged guy who works in computers and has once again failed to get a promotion. He’s about to discover how much he enjoys putting things up his butt.

“Daddy’s going to have his first prostate exam! Yes!” his wife Anne (Shelby Dash) tells their baby in the run-up to this life-changing moment. Chip (played by director Tyler Cornack) isn’t exactly getting any sexual satisfaction from their relationship, and she doesn’t seem to be either, so perhaps it’s only natural that the discovery he makes at the hospital would prompt eager experimentation. it’s one thing to play around with a bar of soap, however – it’s another to lose it in there and, when it doesn’t come out again, simply go looking for more objects to use in the same way.

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Going to spectacularly dark places before the opening credits have even begun, Butt Boy is, on one level, just a ludicrously extended joke about a man putting things up his arse (and this is what Cornack seems to be most proud of); on another, it’s a serial killer story large parts of which are seen from the point of view of a man with a compulsion to prey on the most vulnerable individuals he encounters. There’s an astute understanding of addiction at its core and there’s also a lot of comedy drawn from playing around with familiar film tropes in an increasingly absurd context.

Most every killer needs a cop, and here Cornack’s film goes the whole hog. Russell (Tyler Rice) meets Chip at the addiction support group where the latter has sought help for his problem without telling anyone what it really is. Russell’s problem – at least on the surface – is alcohol. He’s also a single, greasy-haired, brown leather jacketed guy who stuffs food into his face in his messy car and wears a perpetual hangdog expression. Becoming suspicious about Chip’s behaviour, he finds himself in a position where he’s going to have to confront his superior with a report that’s unlikely to be believed.

The production values throughout this low budget film are impressively high, with some beautifully filmed sequences; whatever else you think of it, it’s clearly a labour of love. There’s a wonderful economy to the storytelling and whilst some viewers have complained that it’s repetitive in places, a little of that is necessary to establish the cycle of addiction. A nicely designed score helps to build up the sense of pressure created by this in a film that takes viewers to very strange places – until, eventually, something has to give.

There’s a purity about this that allows little room for nuanced responses. Most viewers will either consider it the most inane thing they’ve ever seen or laugh hysterically throughout and subsequently try to force all their friends to watch it. If you’re in the latter camp and you do that at home, just make sure nobody wanders off with the remote control.

Reviewed on: 10 Mar 2020
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Butt Boy packshot
After a child goes missing, a newly sober detective comes to suspect that his sponsor has a super power that makes animals, objects, and humans disappear up his backside.

Director: Tyler Cornack

Writer: Tyler Cornack, Ryan Koch

Starring: Angela Jones, Rhoda Pell, Kristina Clifford, Brad Potts, Tyler Dryden

Year: 2019

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: US

Festivals:

Glasgow 2020

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