Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run
Congratulations, Jonathan Salemi, independent filmmaker. You have managed to surpass even Harmony Korine as having made the worst film I’ve ever reviewed for this website. Laemmle Theatres, the independent film chain in Los Angeles that I am absolutely in love with, has a policy that a filmmaker can get a one-week engagement for a small monetary fee. So just like the World Series of Poker, any asshole can play with the big boys so long as he has the scratch.
I was duped by the description, which sounded promising. A guy — and I’m not going to name any of the actors involved out of respect for their potential careers so that even a Google search will not cause them shame — who’s supposedly a famously exaggerative liar basically finds out he can control his girlfriend’s sexual proclivities with a light switch. Is his story true, is it not, who’s to say? Since I usually watch so many godawful dramedies, I figured I deserve what will probably be a light-hearted sex romp. This is not what I got.
Cause you see, they manage within the brief 80-minute run time to completely dunderfuck any salvageable moment of decent screentime with either painful dialogue, terrible plot points, or just asininely offensively thoughtless material. It’s not that it’s needlessly crude or even bawdy. It’s more like a Bible Camp trying to videotape a version of American Pie, and the acting and camera work are just as shoddy. The film’s so retarded that it may have been funded partially by autism research grants. It wasn’t just that it was bad or amateurish like a student film, but it was painfully so, like a sitcom family testing out a camcorder. I’ve often said to groups of students that anyone can make a film, but upon seeing this I realize now why no university will hire me. While in theory I was proven right, in practice, it was wrong … oh, so wrong.
Inexplicably, the film is told as a flashback. Why? Because two friends — a Chachi looking Joey Tribbani smooth dipshit and the fat drunk one — are pissed at their bug-eyed liar friend for ditching their golf date. When he shows up with a hot foreign guest, they decide the best way to get her to like them is to make him tell the story about how he fucked up his relationship. With a light switch.
You see, our zero meets this girl at a party presumably full of college students, but instead full of 30 year old extras posing around a starter apartment in the Valley. Again, just because everyone’s holding plastic red solo cups doesn’t mean it’s a fucking frat party, dipshitticus. So Chachi chaches, fat guy drinks, and fat guy’s little brother goes around trying to be The Sherminator, only he calls himself Smokin’ Joe. Because all the hot ladies love boxing references. At the party, Zero meets cute girl, who tells him she’s a virgin actress wannabe. They make out, but Zero’s willing to wait. THREE YEARS LATER. Chuckle. I dare you. Because in California, a guy is still going to be pressuring his missus for lovin’ instead of dropping her like a hot rock and sacking up with any of the available poontang.
Anyway, he gets a grant — from somewhere? — and gets an apartment. In the apartment is a mysterious light switch, which when flicked on makes our protagonizer attractive to old women, girl scouts, and gay men. Oh, and it also apparently makes his virgin girlfriend have sex with him and then forget completely about it the next day. Yeah, back that up and rewind it for the armchaise feminsters in the audience. His girlfriend, who for three years has been insisting on saving herself, decides suddenly to do him and then has no memory of it. He flicks that switch like he’s been undoubtedly flicking his own. That is, after he discovers what’s been going on. Congratulations, date rape, you’ve got a new proud hero.
Oh, so besides montages of embarrassingly slapped together sitcom bro-logues, the movie then hinges on a bet. Get ready for it because this is astounding. His friends bet him that he can’t VIDEOTAPE himself porking his formerly chaste girlfriend, who apparently doesn’t understand the concept of a hymen, to prove he’s not full of shit. If he wins, he gets a flat screen TV and a motorcycle. If he loses, they get to pick any girl at random and he has to sleep with her. Cause that’s how you girls are. What fucking gameshow does that work on? Oh, but wait, there’s more! You see, girlfriend has two sisters, a slutty step-sister and a semi-dim younger sister studying Spanish. So then the wager gets BIGGER. They decide it’s not enough for him to debase his missus by doing her on the video, but now he has to use his magic light switch to get both her and HER STEP SISTER to do him on video. And the fucktard agrees.
Hijinks ensue in the most incredibly painfully, densely tied together ending in the history of cinema. It involves borrowing cars and credit cards and wedding rings and … just thinking about it makes me want to set fire to USC to prevent anything like this from ever happening again. The kicker? While it’s an unrated film, it’s actually more akin to a PG-13 film, despite offhanded remarks about handjobs. So there wasn’t even any nudity or swearing to distract me. Just awful, awful, awful acting.
I discovered I must have met the filmmaker, and that I know him through a friend of a friend’s ex-boyfriend, which is how all film deals work in Hollywood. If the power of time travel existed, I would go back, naked in an electric bubble, steal a shotgun and motorcycle and do as our Governator commands. The only good that came out of this film being made was me calling up my friend and saying, “That’s it. We make our film immediately. If this shit can get made, anything’s possible.” Except dinosaurs.
Brian Prisco lives in a pina down by the mer-port of Burbank, by way of the cheesesteak-laden arteries of Philadelphia. Any and all grumblings can be directed to priscogospel at hotmail dot com.