3,2,1...Frankie Go Boom: Film Review

3 2 1 Frankie Goes Boom Trailer Screengrab - H 2012

3 2 1 Frankie Goes Boom Trailer Screengrab - H 2012

The bottom line: Ron Perlman in drag and Chris Noth in a jockstrap are the dubious highlights of this strained, vulgar farce.

Two brothers desperately attempt to retrieve an embarrassing video before it goes viral.

Opens Oct. 12 (Variance Films, Gravitas Ventures).

More than living up to its unfortunate title, 3,2,1…Frankie Goes Boom self-destructs in its quest for comic outrageousness. While several of its well-known performers seem to be having a great deal of fun playing against type, Chris Noth and Ron Perlman, I’m talking about you—their enjoyment is unlikely to be shared by the audience.

Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) stars as Frank, a sensitive writer who has become a Desert Valley recluse after being constantly humiliated by embarrassing videos of him shot by his aspiring filmmaker brother Bruce (Chris O’Dowd) that have become internet sensations. Frank is cajoled to come out of hiding by his mother (Nora Dunn) on the occasion of Bruce’s emergence from rehab, only to find his life turned around yet again by his unrepentant, narcissistic sibling. This time it concerns a surreptitiously shot video of Frank’s failing to rise to the sexual occasion during a one-night stand with Lassie (Lizzy Caplan), as kooky as her name.

The siblings go on a desperate pursuit to retrieve the video after it accidentally winds up in the hands of Bruce’s friend Jack (Noth), a fallen movie star with a weakness for illegal substances and guns who also happens to be Lassie’s father. Hilarity fails to ensue in the resulting farcical complications, which include the near drowning death of a pig, an edible bra, and Perlman as a post-op transsexual.

The image of the burly actor in full female regalia while painting his toenails is one of the film’s undeniable highlights, and is made even funnier by the actor’s playing the role totally, um, straight. Chris Noth fans are likely to be equally amused by the sight of the normally straight-laced actor running on a treadmill while wearing only a jockstrap.

A little of this goes a long way, however, and writer/director Jordan Roberts’ increasingly strained attempts at ramping up the vulgarity quotient quickly proves wearisome despite the appealing performances by Hunnam and O’Dowd as the warring siblings and quirky comic turns by Dunn and Whitney Cummings in their supporting roles.   

Production: Defender Films.

CAST: Charlie Hunnam, Chris O’Dowd, Lizzy Caplan, Whitney Cummings, Chris Noth, Ron Perlman, Nora Dowd.

Director/screenwriter: Jordan Roberts.

Producers: Marcel Langereger, Pavlina Hatoupis, Katayoun A. Marciano.

Executive producers: Elliott Lewitt, Julie Kirham.

Director of photography: Mattias Troelstrupt.

Editor: Michael Hofacre.

Production designer: Michael Fitzgerald.

Costume designer: Ann Foley.

Composer: Matteo Messina.

Not rated, 88 min.