Even when I close my eyes, it's...it's still there. So, yeah, Ron Perlman as a wisdom-dispensing hacker ex-con shemale would make my shortlist for the most memorable things about Frankie Go Boom. I kind of just wish that list were a little longer.
Bruce (Chris O'Dowd) always has a camera in his hand, and he's generally leering at his kid brother Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) in the viewfinder. The last time Bruce decided to play director, Frank's disastrous wedding video -- infidelity! face-slapping! vomit! heartbreak! -- started making the rounds online, racking up tens of millions of views along the way. Frank has tried to move on with his life, and...hey! He's even just met a nice girl. It's just that when Frankie brings Lassie (Lizzy Caplan) back to his parents' place, he has...y'know, performance issues at first, but it all works out in the end. These crazy, damaged kids are in love! It's a night they'll never forget. ...and if they do, Bruce has just about the whole thing on video to remind 'em. That footage winds up in the hands of a washed-up TV star (Chris Noth), then there's a drowning pig, then they have to get a DVD player from some cholo gangbanger
Sure, Perlman as a gruff, fiftysomething-year-old Jewish grandma is a hell of a lot more effective than the one-note-schticky-sightgag gimmick I thought it was gonna be. Lizzy Caplan is spectacular because of course she is; the only person in front of the camera that can nail the drama and tumultuous emotions that Frankie Go Boom tries to sprinkle in with the raunch. Geez, though, just about nothing else about this movie works at all. Frankie Go Boom bobs back and forth between drama and comedy, and the transitions are generally jarring and awkward. Some of the most critical sequences have dialogue that seems to drone on forever, without the pace or rhythm you usually get out of even darkly-tinged romantic comedies.
Its sense of humor has bits and pieces that could score a huge laugh, but it's too often an "::audible gasp!:: I can't believe they just did that!" shock value setup with no real punchline. Bruce gets up in front of a crowd and compares himself to Martin Luther King, yammering on about how he has a dream, although his has nothing to do with slavery or eating gumbo or whatever. ...okay. Chris Noth is running on a treadmill in nothing but a thong, and he says "my ass is as hard as a dick on Viagra!" ...okay. Bruce tries to console his brother about not being able to get it up with "Claudia had to put three fingers up my ass to get me hard." ...okay. I'm not easily shocked or offended, so that sort of thing gets zero reaction from me, and there's not a joke associated with any of that to score a legitimate laugh.
I certainly appreciate the moxie it takes to get a movie off the ground with zero time, zero money, and a pretty much dream cast like this. Frankie Go Boom just...no, it doesn't work. The parts that are supposed to be funny aren't. The dramatic and emotional hooks never quite manage to dig their way in. I was never in any danger of caring about anything that was going on. Too many characters are excruciatingly annoying, and Charlie Hunnam isn't really cut out to play a panicky dweeb type. I'd see sequences like Bruce making an angelic not-a-sex-tape with his mom dolled up as Satan and an overinflated porn star in angel wings dangling from a crane, and I felt as if I'd like this in a better movie, but here...? I just couldn't do it. Tedious. Laughless. Skip It.
At least it looks kinda nice. Frankie Go Boom is reasonably sharp and detailed on Blu-ray. Contrast is spot-on, black levels
Lightning round of technical stuff! Dual-layer Blu-ray disc. AVC. 2.39:1.
Frankie Go Boom's 24-bit, six-channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack does the job. The film's dialogue is balanced nicely in the mix, steering clear of any clipping or distortion. The score and a handful of gunshots are reinforced by a healthy low-end kick, and there's some passable atmosphere lurking in the surrounds. This is basically a stereo-and-then-some track, so don't expect to be immersed in sound or your subwoofer rattling all the china in the great room. Totally okay for what it is, though.
No dubs, alternate mixes, or commentaries here, kids. Subtitles are dished out in English (SDH), Spanish, and French, though.
Oh yeah, and the whole thing comes packaged in a shiny slipcover.
The Final Word
Nevermind the names you might like that are on the bill. Frankie Go Boom is an awful movie with an awful title about awful people -- well, most of 'em are, anyway -- not leaving a whole heckuva lot left to recommend. It's one of those things that was probably a blast to make but is kind of a slog to suffer through once it's all said and done. Skip It.