I have never seen a Uwe Boll movie before this one. Then again, I have never eaten a shit taco and can safely say it would probably taste bad. So I can make the claim Postal is easily going to be the best movie Uwe Boll will ever make. Yet being the best Uwe Boll movie is a little like being the second-to-last guy who helps break the gangbang world record. What makes Postal so painful to watch is that it is like catching your ex-girlfriend giving a handjob to another guy: it would have been so much better if it was just in someone else’s hands.
I’m not sure if it was when Verne Troyer gets raped by a thousand monkeys in an underground bunker or when a costumed penis shot a small child to incite a riot at Little Germany, but a sudden realization dawned upon me: Uwe Boll isn’t a comedian. It’s not that he isn’t funny. He’s obviously got a sense of humor, particularly about himself. It’s that he doesn’t have any sense of timing or set-up. He’s like a four-year-old telling the knock-knock joke that goes “Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?” No, I’m not glad you didn’t say banana. I’m glad I didn’t beat you with a sack of sweet Valencia oranges. Now, go play in traffic.
Postal is based on the video game Postal 2: Share the Pain. It stays absolutely true to the game, and even manages to expand on it in a pretty fantastic way. Most video game movies don’t respect the source material, as if the screenwriters never even bother to play the game or at least talk to a fucking 14 year old who played it once. Postal banks remarkably on the game, remaining so slavish to the ridiculously dated jokes and over-the-top violence that it has to work double time to hit all the references in the storytelling. Ironically, it’s in the execution that it shoots itself in the foot. And the leg. And then landing chin first Willem-Dafoe-ing its severed head against the side of a building.
Postal is plotted exactly like one of the Movie Movies. In essence, it’s a parody film. Boll set out to make the most offensive movie he could in an attempt to … well, I guess there isn’t a point. He butchers as many sacred cows as possible, forgetting he doesn’t know how to make a fucking hamburger. Every lame joke he makes and every meta-reference he taps has been done before (and better) by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In fact, Postal plays out as awkwardly as a middle schooler trying to explain all the funny parts of Team America. There so much lost in translation, I kept waiting for Bill Murray to show up and be depressed in Japan.
Postal Dude — played by the kid most famous for getting his Scut Farking ass rassafracking handed to him by Ralphie in A Christmas Story, Zach Ward — has a bad day. He fails a job interview, can’t cash his welfare check, and then finds out his morbidly obese wife is rocking their trailer with someone else. He has nothing to lose when his cult-leader uncle Dave (Dave Foley, no seriously I mean the fucking “Kids in the Hall,” Dave Foley) involves him in a plot to steal a shipment of Krotchy Dolls (the aforementioned penis costume character) to sell them on EBay to get the money to pay the back taxes he owes. Meanwhile back on the ranch, Osama Bin Laden and the rest of the Taliban are also trying to steal the Krotchy Dolls, since they contain vials of avian bird flu, which they will use to commit 9/11 2.0. This is the Thin Lizzy upon which Uwe Boll tries to hang his collection of terrible jokes.
And that’s the problem. The jokes come off like a Scarlett Johansson concert: flat, stumbling, and totally in the wrong place. The movie opens with two al Qaedans arguing in a cockpit over the number of virgins they will receive in Heaven. It could have been a funny scene. If it were on Mad TV. Five years ago. And I was drunk. Out-of-town Irish wedding drunk. The scene doesn’t have any payoff unless you count crashing into an unsuspecting skyscraper-window-washer payoff. It’s apropos of nothing, except the movie has as one of its villains Osama Bin Laden.
Most of the outrageousness is outrageous for the sake of being so outrageous. I have no problem with envelope-pushing humor if it’s clever or done well or has a purpose. For example, Uwe Boll plays himself as the owner of Little Germany, a concentration camp Amusement Park in Paradise, AZ where the Krotchy Dolls, which are shaped like penises and all the kids want like the dickens, are stored.
Now stop with me for a moment. There are so many funny directions you could go with this. Suppose Little Germany was actually a Concentration Camp Disney. Complete with a train ride all the little kids are packed into. Or a flume ride that starts in the showers and ends in a furnace. Parody pushed to the limit. Instead, it looks like a low rent Busch Gardens with signs like “Dr. Mengele’s First Aid” and “Concentration Camp This Way!” And the Krotchy Doll has nothing to do with the amusement park and it’s actually shaped like a dick and balls. Not even some sort of funny alien that reeks of sexual innuendo. It’s literally a big foam beans and frank. If it wasn’t supposed to really be a dong, it’s fucking hysterical. Kids cuddling and stroking Krotchy. Right? But again, no payoff. Instead, Uwe Boll pays off the entire joke by saying he really finances all of his movies with Nazi Gold. Then to pay Verne Troyer (the voice of Krotchy), he dumps out a handful of gold teeth. Yup. It was so horrendous that when the gunfight erupts, and Uwe takes a bullet to the Bollsack, I so desperately wished it were a documentary.
Uwe Boll may be able to box critics, but he can’t hit a punchline. There’s nothing clever or witty about his jokes. It’s like a baby reaching into his diaper and writing SHIT on the wall with his feces. Technically, it’s accurate and kinda funny that a little baby knows how to spell SHIT, but otherwise, it’s not really a joke. Osama Bin Laden and George W. Bush are skipping hand in hand at the end of the movie as a nuclear bomb goes off. It’s not clever like Satan and Saddam Hussein as ex-lovers, it’s just there to add something to the trailers. When the really fat Mrs. Postal Dude (who he literally named Bitch — outrageous!) is cheating, her fucker comes out from the bedroom and grabs a bag of flour. Then he says, “Got to find the wet spot.” For God’s sake, even with a full frontal Dave Foley on a toilet, Uwe Boll fucks up a goddamn fart joke. That’s like not being able to find a needlemark on Amy Winehouse.
The only other crime is how much Uwe misuses his entire cast. Dave Foley must have some serious gambling debts to waste his time in this. JK Simmons plays a right wing extremist, improvising all his insane jibber-jabber. Seymour Cassel and David Huddleston are two dirty old men waxing perverse outside a cafe. Except for Verne Troyer, the suckiest of the Lollipop Guild. The part was originally written for (and played by in the video game by) Gary Coleman, but I guess even he’s got too much dignity. Verne Troyer pissed away what little he had into a potted plant on VH1.
What’s most shocking about Postal isn’t its bad ethnic jokes, lame attempts to mock the retarded, or even its dated political commentary: it’s that Uwe Boll almost made a good movie. Had this opened on a different weekend and on the original 1500 screens (not the whopping FOUR it ended up with), this probably would have made a solid amount of money. It’s no more poorly made than any of the Movie Movies, and it’s got a decent smattering of gratuitous boobs and bloodshed. Postal’s major flaw is the same problem that’s plagued all the Seth MacFarlane cartoons as of late: they’re trying so hard to be scandalous, they completely forget the subtle layered humor that made them funny in the first place. You can make dick jokes without having to whip your dick out. Especially if it’s got the voice of Verne Troyer.
Brian Prisco is a warrior-poet from the valley of North Hollywood, by way of Philadelphia. He wastes most of his life in desk jobs, biding his time until he finally becomes an actor, a writer, or cannon fodder in the inevitable zombie invasion. He can be found shaking his fist and angrily shouting at clouds on his blog, The Gospel According to Prisco.Sometimes I Try To Do Things and It Just Doesn't Work Out the Way I Wanted To
Film | May 28, 2008 | Comments ()