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That its punning title is the wittiest thing about Bad Johnson tells you all you need to know about Huck Botko’s (The Virginity Hit) puerile comedy about a man who wakes up to discover that his penis has left his body and assumed human form, with predictably chaotic results. Infusing familiar romantic comedy tropes into its moralistic fable about a womanizer who learns to be a man only when deprived of his manhood, the film will leave viewers feeling emasculated in more ways than one.
Hunky personal trainer Rich Johnson (Cam Gigandet, displaying an admirable six-pack if little charisma) is the sort of lying sleazeball who, during the opening credits, is caught sleeping with his girlfriend’s sister. “Not what it looks like, babe,” he assures his girlfriend.
He seems to turn over a new leaf when he meets the beautiful Jamie (Jamie Chung) and enters into a relationship, only to screw things up once again when he gets into a fender-bender with a MILF whose offer of a sex act he can hardly refuse. Discovering bite marks on his genitals, Jamie promptly sends him packing.
Cursing his ill-behaving appendage one night before going to sleep, Rich wakes up to discover that his wish has come true and that he’s now sporting a smooth crotch. But he soon receives an urgent phone call from his errant penis, who says that he’s naked in an alley and needs to be picked up.
Played by comedian Nick Thune, the penis (this is certainly the most times I’ve used that word or its variations in a single review) is, like his former owner, an unrepentant jerk mainly intent on getting into as many women’s pants as possible. While he unrestrainedly sets out to conquer the female population, the bereft Rich finds himself increasingly attracted to comely new client Lindsay (Katherine Cunningham), the complication being that he now has no way of consummating the relationship.
While the high-concept idea might have served as a reasonably funny episode in a comedy sketch film — where’s Movie 43 when you need it? — it wears thin over the course of the feature-length running time. The endless profusion of penis jokes in Jeff Tetreault’s screenplay may prove amusing to teenage boys, although even they will wonder why Rich’s penis isn’t more anarchically funny. As played in uninspired fashion by Thune, he merely seems like, well, a dick. “You’re about as much fun as a rubber,” he tells his former owner at one point. So is this film, which could well be described as a comedy prophylactic.
Opens May 2 (Gravitas Ventures)
Production: 2DS Productions, Roman Empire
Cast: Cam Gigandet, Nick Thune, Jamie Chung, Katherine Cunningham, Kevin Miller
Director: Huck Botko
Screenwriter: Jeff Tretreault
Producers: Reid Brody, Danny Roman, Bill Ryan
Executive producers: Huck Botko, David Fox, Paul Kim
Director of photography: Luke Geissbuhler
Editor: Peter Tarter
Costume designer: Vivian Pavlos
Composers: Didier Leplae, Joe Wong
Not rated, 88 minutes
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