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Review: Assholes

Score: F

Director: Peter Vack

Cast: Peter Vack, Betsey Brown, Jack Dunphy, Eileen Dietz

Running Time: 74 Minutes

Rated: NR

Assholes is one of the most repellant movies I’ve ever seen. Yes, I know comedy is subjective and you can make a joke out of anything, but even viewers with the strongest stomachs and the sickest senses of humor won’t get much out of this dreadful excuse for a film.

There’s the germ (and I use that word intentionally) of a good idea here. Adam (writer-director Peter Vack) has trouble coping with the fact that his sister Adah (Betsey Brown) and best friend Adam (Jack Dunphy) are dating, but a lot of that gets sidelined for disgusting, cheap make-up effects, bizarre detours that just show how little of a script he has.

You will see close-ups of cold sores, scabby penises and a woman covered head to toe in feces. Adah and Aaron are both recovering addicts, but their ugly relationship causes them to relapse. Again, there’s potential there, but the film would much rather gross you out than go for any genuine laughs or depth.

I’ve found plenty of laughs in comedies with nasty elements, and two of my favorite sitcoms are about genuinely reprehensible people (Seinfeld and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). But those had great writing and a terrific ensemble. Assholes is so smug, seemingly saying with every new appalling scene, “Look at us! Look at how vulgar we’re being! Aren’t we cheeky?” It’s one thing to be truly boldly go for laughs. It’s another to draw attention to yourself the whole time.

Assholes is just over an hour long, but it’s an insufferable time filled with weak attempts at body horror, sex comedy and total WTF-ery. But it’s easily the worst thing I’ve seen this year, and a contender for the worst thing I’ve ever seen.

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About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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