×

‘Butt Boy’: Film Review

A one-joke, bad-taste concept is pulled off with some deadpan panache in this indie comedy "thriller."

Butt Boy

Nobody is going to watch a movie called “Butt Boy” in pursuit of sophisticated wit. That said, this feature spinoff from a prior sketch by the collaborative comedy-video team known as Tiny Cinema does manage to be just about the drollest execution possible of the most juvenile concept imaginable.

While some may be disappointed that the scatological humor isn’t more overt, those inclined to be tickled by a one-joke bad-taste premise treated with an incongruous poker face will give director, co-writer and star Tyler Cornack’s perversely well-crafted goof a leg-up toward immediate moderate cult status. It debuted on various VOD platforms April 14 after a planned limited theatrical release earlier in the month got corona-fied.

Doughy, hirsute, slack-mouthed Chip (Cornack) works IT at a generic Florida corporate office where he’s the lone holdout from an annoying departmental spirit of gung-ho-dom. At home, there’s even less cause for enthusiasm, as wife Anne (Shelby Dash) has little use for him, being focused primarily on their baby. A rather invasive rectal exam during a routine doctor’s appointment has a curious effect on Chip, however. Small objects begin disappearing from the household; then not-so-small ones, including the family dog. Once Chip’s mysterious compulsion seriously accelerates in magnitude, he attempts suicide.

Nine years later — but just after the delayed opening credits — he seems to have stabilized, his urges under apparent control. Which is not the case for Russell (Tyler Rice), a tough police detective who’s a newbie at AA. There, he gets assigned veteran Chip as sponsor. But the two men don’t particularly hit it off, and easily triggered Russell is displeased when supposed “support system” Chip simply ignores his voicemails. Thus Russell is first to suspect this new acquaintance of shadiness when a child disappears from “Bring Your Kid to Work Day” at Chip’s office. It doesn’t help that telltale moments appear to have been erased from all security cameras, to which our protagonist has access.

The remaining hour of “Butt Boy” is played as a cat-and-mouse crime drama, with angsty-cool cop on the tail (ahem) of a bland, guileless-looking perp whom he suspects of somehow … cramming other missing persons up his posterior. Needless to say, this is not a theory embraced by Chip’s superiors at the precinct.

There’s a certain amount of slack in the arguably-overlong film’s midsection, after the premise’s outrageousness has been fully absorbed but before things make the leap into patently absurd visual fantasy. Still, the lengthy buildup makes that jump pay off nicely, as does holding back from grossout splatstick until an explosive climactic exclamation point.

Those who can’t get past the lowbrow ickiness of the concept will only be irked by the dedication with which the creators simultaneously evade and extend it. If your sense of humor favors stupid ideas done smartly, however, “Butt Boy” offers pleasures that aren’t even all that guilt-inducing. Stylistically, it’s a lower-key catalog of the kind of straight-faced cop-thriller tropes “Hot Fuzz” sent up so well, with Billy Morean’s widescreen photography and the synthy score (by Cornack and co-writer/producer Ryan Koch as “Feathers”) particularly abetting a mock macho solemnity redolent of 1980s Michael Mann.

The performers are nothing if not faithful to their deliberately monotonous, derivative character constructs, with both Tylers getting considerable mileage from minute variations on archetypically familiar notes. Support players likewise refuse to play for broad laughs, a notably manic exception being a very funny turn from Austin Lewis as Chip’s unctuous boss.

‘Butt Boy’: Film Review

Reviewed online, San Francisco, April 16, 2020. Running time: 99 MIN.

  • Production: An Epic Pictures release of a Tiny Cinema presentation. Producer: Ryan Koch. Co-producer: Brian Wolfe. Executive producer: Audrey Petersen.
  • Crew: Director: Tyler Cornack. Screenplay: Cornack, Ryan Koch. Camera: Billy Morean. Editor: Austin Lewis. Music: Feathers.
  • With: Tyler Rice, Tyler Cornack, Shelby Dash, Nino Hara, Austin Lewis, Brad Potts, Wilky Lau, Kai Henderson.
  • Music By: