'Butt Boy': Film Review

Butt Boy - Publicity still - H 2020
William Morean
A constipated would-be cult comedy.

A man's newly discovered sexual urge turns deadly in Tyler Cornack's debut.

A juvenile gag that just might have been funny as a minute-long entry in its makers' online filmography — other short works include Nip Slip and Saint Dick — Tyler Cornack's Butt Boy imagines the crime spree that ensues when a man's newly discovered appreciation for prostate massage goes absurdly awry. Soon, bars of soap and TV remotes aren't enough, and he's doing naughty things only dreamed of in Eddie Murphy's 1982 song "Boogie in Your Butt. ("Put a radiator in your butt," the bard sang. "Put an alligator in your butt.") Actual humans start vanishing up there, as well — people both unwilling and very underage. The fact that this strange sort of child rape hardly raises an eyebrow is a measure of the film's inertness: Less outrageous or provocative than puzzling, it will appeal to a very specific sort of irony-hungry moviegoer and leave most others shrugging.

Director/co-writer Cornack stars as Chip, a middle-class drone whose wife Anne (Shelby Dash) doesn't like him and whose workplace is designed to kill souls. On the occasion of his first prostate exam, he realizes he's been missing something all these years. So when Anne flatly refuses to oblige, Chip starts having special alone time with a variety of household objects. Then, at the park one day, he sees a mother with her infant child. Thank the movie gods, Cornack does not attempt to show us the sanity-defying thing Chip does to the baby. But nine years later, the city is still haunted by the child who simply disappeared.

An older and sadder Chip appears to have quashed his desire to consume living things, though, more than 30 minutes in, the movie still seeks giggles with shots of him staring longingly at light bulbs and plastic toys. Then there's a "bring your kids to work" day, and an office game of hide and seek leads a young boy to take shelter under Chip's desk. The old craving resurfaces, and the boy's never seen again.

The manhunt for that poor child throws Chip into conflict with a police detective he recently met named Russell (Tyler Rice). Until now, the figures in Chip's world have been exaggerated; but Russell, a would-be Serpico in a leather jacket and intense concentration, is the first hint of parodic intent. Even now, though, the film isn't sure what to do with this caricature: Scenes between the two men are as deadpan and dead-air-filled as everything else here, with the picture seeming to add, brick by brick, to a fortress of ironic artifice. But it takes so long making something happen, you could run to the pharmacy for a laxative and not have missed anything upon your return.

Anyone who cares enough to wonder what happened to all those things Chip made disappear will have a long time in the third act to regret asking the question. His red-tinted colon, where some people and small animals remain alive, is as capacious as the belly of Jonah's whale. Happily, the producers couldn't afford to render it in Smell-O-Vision.

Production company: Tiny Cinema
Distributor: Epic Pictures (Available 4/14 on VOD/Digital)
Cast: Tyler Cornack, Tyler Rice, Shelby Dash
Director: Tyler Cornack
Screenwriters: Tyler Cornack, Ryan Koch
Producers: Ryan Koch, Brian Wolfe
Director of photography: William Morean
Production designer: Lauren Paonessa
Editor: Austin Lewis
Composer: Feathers

100 minutes