I didn't know what to expect from 'Frankie Go Boom.' Sure, the cover promised a great comedic cast, including Ron 'Hellboy' Perlman in drag, with a premise that seemed both fresh and raunchy, but the final outcome once again proved you should never judge a Blu-ray by its cover. More often than not these days, indie comedies try to shock us with their explicit jokes and weave in some dramatic moments every other scene. These creative decisions, if done poorly, will drive the audience away as the film itself decides what type of movie it wants to be, whether it be an engaging and odd love story, or a film with enough toilet humor two feature films.
The movie follows Frankie (Charlie Hunnam), who is the focal point of his older brother Bruce's (Chris O'Dowd) devious schemes and torture, which started when they were kids and has continued into their adult years. Constantly armed with a video camera, Bruce has documented these 'Jackass' style stunts and pranks through the years, but the difference between 'Jackass' and this, is that Frankie does not know what's happening and is an unwilling participant in everything his brother Bruce does.
Video of these pranks has ended up going viral on the internet, and Frank has removed himself from society in order to live in the middle of the desert in a small trailer. However, when their mother (Nora Dunn) calls Frank to inform him that Bruce is graduating from rehab after a life of drugs, theft, and other criminal activities, she lays a heavy guilt trip on him to attend and be there for his brother.
While their parents are very forgiving of Bruce's actions, Frank is not so inclined, and just wants to be out of the family for fear of suffering more embarrassment and ridicule at his own expense. Frank then literally runs into a strange girl named Lassie (Lizzy Caplan). They both have emotional issues and decide to hook up for the evening. After Frank briefly struggles to "rise to the occasion" everything seems to work out fine for the couple, however, Bruce has recorded the entire romp session without them knowing.
The recording was given to fellow rehab friend and has-bend tv star Jack (Chris Noth) who owns a pig, produces porn, and exercises in nothing more than a thong speedo. As Frank and Bruce try to retrieve the tape, they find out it is now in the hands of some gang members, which then leads to Frank emerging into the viral limelight again as the video has been uploaded online for the world to see. In an effort to keep millions and millions of people from watching the video, as well as Lassie seeing it online, Bruce enlists the help of Phyllis (Perlman) who is a post-op transsexual and computer hacker, because... why not? There are a few raunchy jokes and some ridiculous escapades including a pig thrown into a pool and some pig vomit to garner laughs, but the effect is short-lived.
These days, with R rated comedies and countless youtube videos of people debasing themselves, some of us have become desensitized to some of the more graphic situations. Granted, this little indie film does try to push the envelope with its comedy and humor, it's all stuff we've seen before, and it doesn't illicit the reaction the filmmakers would hope for. Sure, seeing Perlman as a large and vulgar 'Linda Richman' type is amazing, but it's too short-lived, but might remain in your memory for weeks to come. Meanwhile, this flick can't make up it's mind whether or not it wants to be a silly comedy with sex jokes, or an endearing independent romantic drama. The flow of the script seems to set up and pay off with some one-note, annoying characters yelling around every corner. It's a jumbled mess, but has a small spark of comedy that might capture the laughs and attention of some viewers, but not many.
O'Dowd is always hilarious and I love his comedic timing, but here his character is really unlikable and just comes across as pompous and infuriating. Noth follows that description to a tee as well. Hunnam tries to be a gentle nerd-type, but never pulls it off. Caplan shines throughout, because her charm, wit, and beauty always brighten the screen. She knows when to be funny, but she can also segue into a dramatic moment where we feel for her. That can't be said for the rest of the cast. Then Perlman shows up in a dress, which might just become an instant cult image in our minds, alongside Divine. 'Frankie Go Boom' sets out to deliver some gut busting laughs, but never fulfills that delivery. Despite a great cast, this comedy is less than exciting.
'Frankie Goes Boom' comes with a very good 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The detail is sharp and clear as facial hair is well defined in closeups and we can make out the minute stitching in their clothes. The colors look solid here too and pop off the screen throughout. Brighter colors seems to be a little muted, but not much.
Black levels run deep and inky, with some decent depth in the exterior shots. For a low budget indie comedy, this looks very good, but it's nothing you would want to demo for friends. There was no evidence of aliasing, banding, or motion blur, making this a solid video presentation.
This release features with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix that comes across nicely for an indie film. The dialogue is crystal clear and is always easy to understand. It is nicely situated on the fronts with no hissing or cracks of any sort. The score and music does a good job of keeping the mood right and never drowns out the effects, dialogue, or ambient noise.
Some sound effects of gun shots, people being hit, and light action scenes light up the surrounds a bit with good directionality and decent LFE. That being said, you won't get 'Matrix' style sound from this film, so don't expect the bass to pack a punch or much noise to hurt your ears. For they type of film this is, this sound presentation does the job well.
'Frankie Goes Boom' isn't the funniest film you'll see this year. Nor will it be the 10th funniest film you'll see this year. That's unfortunate, because the cast is amazing, and the story itself is fun, but ultimately, it was executed poorly. There are a couple of laughs here and there, but besides seeing Perlman as a post-op transsexual, this film will soon leave your mind, never to be thought of again. The video and audio presentations are solid with some sub-par extras. My advice is to rent this before purchasing.