Estonian animated pic "Frank & Wendy" makes for scrappy but salty adult-oriented entertainment. Crudely drawn title characters mimic Mulder and Scully from "The X Files" as they investigate paranormal activities in "the world's hotbed of danger," contempo Estonia. Pic could have minor cult appeal, but is likely to baffle most everyone else.

Originally a seven-part TV series composed of nine-minute sketches but since sutured into feature length, Estonian animated pic “Frank & Wendy” makes for scrappy but salty adult-oriented entertainment. Crudely drawn title characters mimic Mulder and Scully from “The X Files” as they investigate paranormal activities in “the world’s hotbed of danger,” contempo Estonia. Marbled with surrealist touches, cartoon violence and ribald humor, pic could have minor cult appeal for fans of toonmeisters Bill Plympton and Mike Judge, but is likely to baffle most everyone else.

Despite being American FBI agents, flat-topped Frank and droopy-breasted Wendy (both voiced by Frank Boyle) are based in Tallinn and speak Estonian throughout the feature. They investigate a sausage factory run by Nazi dwarves, a plot to get the world addicted to hamburgers, and the nefarious activities of the oldest Communist in Greenland. Linking narrative depicts “Frank & Wendy’s” animators struggling to come up with storylines for the intrepid agents. Lightly political at times, mirth is made at expense of neighboring Latvians, dumb Americans and Blighty’s Prime Minister Tony Blair. Deliberately childish drawing style amuses.

Frank & Wendy

Animated - Estonia

Production

A correction was made to the credits on Jan. 6, 2004.
An Eesti Joonisfilm production. (International sales: Eesti Joonisfilm, Tallinn, Estonia.) Produced by Kalev Tamm. Directed, designed by "David Snowman" (Priit Tender, Kaspar Jancis, Ulo Pikkov). Screenplay, Priit Parn.

Crew

Camera (color, DigiBeta), Marje-Ly Liiv; editor, Tender; music, Margo Kolar; art director, Parn; animation, Tarmo Vaarmets; layout, Snowman. Reviewed at Black Nights Film Festival (Baltic Event), Tallinn, Dec. 4, 2004. Estonian, Russian, English dialogue. Running time: 75 MIN.

With

Frank Boyle.
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