Opens: Friday, May 23 (Event Film).
When a movie opens with a comic scene depicting the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, you realize that you are about to see either one of the most daring black comedies in history or one of the most stupefyingly tasteless assaults ever perpetrated on an audience. “Postal” is a lot closer to the latter than the former, though it’s too inept and tedious to stir much outrage.
Cult director Uwe Boll (“BloodRayne,” “Alone in the Dark”) has managed to accumulate an extensive filmography along with a slew of bad reviews. Like many of his movies, his latest opus is based on a video game. It’s hard to imagine much of an audience for this new venture, but given the volatile state of a world gone postal, I guess anything is possible.
Osama bin Laden (played by Larry Thomas) appears in the movie’s opening scene and keeps recurring in the story. He is hiding in plain sight in America, plotting his next attack, an outbreak of avian flu. His machinations collide with the misadventures of a trailer-park loser (Zack Ward) and his uncle (Dave Foley), a hypocritical New Age guru. It’s really not worth giving a more detailed summary of the nonsensical plot, except to say that Boll himself plays a lederhosen-clad nutcase who holds court in Little Germany, a theme park that caters to Nazi-lovers.
No doubt Boll’s intention was to be an equal-opportunity offender, taking potshots at every lunatic trend in George W. Bush’s America. Bush himself is a character in the saga, and according to the movie’s demented scenario, he is in cahoots with bin Laden. The problem with the movie is not the grotesque plot but the consistent lack of wit in the dialogue and the direction.
Ward is an attractive leading man who might have a future in less-deranged enterprises. Boll has persuaded a number of respectable actors, including J.K. Simmons, Seymour Cassel, and David Huddleston, to essay cameo roles that will add little luster to their oeuvres. Technical credits are passable, but the humorless script sabotages the best efforts of cast and crew.
Cast: Zack Ward, Dave Foley, Chris Coppola, Jackie Tohn, Verne Troyer, Larry Thomas, Erick Avari, J.K. Simmons, Seymour Cassel, David Huddleston. Director: Uwe Boll. Screenwriters: Bryan C. Knight, Uwe Boll. Producers: Shawn Williamson, Dan Clarke, Uwe Boll. Executive producer: Steve Wik. Rated R, 100 minutes.