BUTT BOY: A Pain In The Ass

Butt Boy premiered at Fantastic Fest, Austin’s other great film festival, where it was screened four times and was sold out each time. The initial interest is understandable, given the wacky title coupled with a madcap premise. But how this film survived the word of mouth to continue pushing interest is beyond me. It’s painfully bad – a comedy with no rhythm, a mystery with no intrigue, a film with no point.

Feeling as bored as the protagonist

Butt Boy is the brainchild of Tyler Cornack, who serves as the director, co-writer and lead actor of the film. He plays the titular character, real name Chip Gutchel, an IT guy who’s so bored with life. He’s bored on the job, bored when having sex with his wife, bored when mowing the lawn. Cornack is adamant in stripping his counterpart of anything possibly interesting. That’s until Chip goes for a routine prostate exam and abruptly finds pleasure in shoving things up his ass, thereby granting his character with a much-needed hook.

BUTT BOY: A Pain In The Ass
source: Epic Pictures Group

For a film about a rectal kink, Butt Boy is extremely vanilla. It doesn’t so much focus on decoding Chip’s psyche – as aforementioned, there’s nothing interesting about him anyway – as it does on tackling his involvement in the case of a few missing children.

Not like most movies you’ve seen but…

Addicting to swallowing things up in his anus, Chip begins attending Alcoholics Anonymous where he sponsors Detective Russell Fox (Tyler Rice), who’s assigned to the case of the missing children. As their relationship develops, the detective starts to consider that Chip isn’t an alcoholic and that the butt boy may be responsible for a child’s disappearance in his own unique way.

It’s true that Butt Boy might not be like most movies you’ve seen but that would purely be speaking on basic narrative terms, for its formalism is rather conventional. Cornack’s vacuous performance and Rice’s archetypal detective act are both ideal and inadequate, possessing the qualities to offset our expectations in surprising ways by presenting something normal but also being too commonplace to care for. When the plot becomes increasingly implausible, the tension is further undercut.

BUTT BOY: A Pain In The Ass
source: Epic Pictures Group

The multi-dutied Cornack and his co-writer Ryan Koch might not have succeeded in their writing but where their efforts can be commended is in the score they created. Committing to sincerity, the unironic electronic music complements the journey of the cool investigator played by Rice and, when things escalate and we enter Chip’s anus, the somber notes that play as an odyssey takes place inside an orifice make for satisfying conceptual humour.

Lauren O’Brien, commanding the production design and art direction, is the film’s most valuable player solely for the creation of Chip’s inner derrière. The flame-red, gravity-defying, perceptibly smelly interior is impressively designed within the filming location – L.A.’s Bronson Canyon bat caves – and will surely serve as a visual inspiration for any filmmaker wanting to make a movie set within the human rear-end. If Butt Boy can’t be credited for much, at least it can claim the accolade of being the only film in history worth watching just to experience the inside of a bootyhole.

Butt Boy: Conclusion

Whilst there are some technical elements worthy of praise, the narrative components severely let Butt Boy down. The pacing is terminally slow and the inexplicable direction is to play things completely straight. The tone here makes the deadpan in Aki Kaurismäki’s films look like the work of Judd Apatow. Save the rather impressive construction of what Chip’s bunghole looks like, there are too few written, physical or juxtaposed gags to give the film the comedic spirit that it needs to be enjoyable. 

With flat characters and a flat execution, Butt Boy’s premise is a complete waste – I can’t believe how dejected it made me feel. Quite simply, Butt Boy just bored the butt off me. For a good film in a similar vein, I would suggest The Death of Dick Long.

What are your favourite films that successfully execute a joke premise by playing it straight? Let us know in the comments below.

Butt Boy will be digitally released in the US on April 14th, 2020. It will be digitally released in the UK on May 4th, 2020.

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