“3, 2, 1… Frankie Go Boom” is an oddball comedy about a man cursed with an idiotic brother who is unintentionally determined to ruin his life. Through the course of the film we’re introduced to a trigger happy ex-actor, a porn star with a drug problem, a wealthy couple intent on making films to promote celibacy, a drowning pig, and a Sasquatch-sized post-op played by Ron Perlman in drag.
Featuring a likeable cast, but not too much else, it opens in limited release this Friday.
Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) has issues with his family. His brother, Bruce (Chris O’Dowd) has compulsively filmed everything since they were children, often intentionally setting boobie traps and filming his brother getting messed up by them. Frankie’s wedding ended in disastrous, embarrassing fashion, but his brother decided to upload the video to YouTube anyways. It was the most painful experience of Frankie’s life, and millions of people got to see it… making him an “epic fail” celebrity. Now Bruce has just got out of rehab, and Frankie’s family convinces him to mend fences long enough to attend the meeting where he’ll receive his 90 day sobriety chip.
After the meeting lets out, a drunk girl (Lizzy Caplan) on a bicycle crashes into him. She’s so completely wasted that she passes out in the middle of the street. Frankie has no choice but to take care of her… which winds up leading to a sexual encounter. Or would have, at least. She’s so desperate and insistent that it winds up being a turn off for him. Unbeknownst to them, as they struggle through the embarrassment of an impotence incident, Bruce is back up to his old tricks.
He’s filming the entire encounter with the intent on showing it to the world.
Thus begins a comedy of errors where Frankie struggles to put the genie back in the bottle… trying to retrieve and destroy all the copies of the video before the public, the girl, and the girl’s psycho father (Chris Noth) get wind of it. Along the way, he crosses paths with ex porn stars, an unlucky pig, and Ron Perlman in drag as a Phil who’s become a Phyllis.
Perhaps none of the characters are as whacked out as his own family, though. His mother (Nora Jones) is blindly supportive of the loser Bruce and uncomfortably affectionate with him. The brother character, Bruce, is unbelievably dense. He plows ahead without any concept of or concern for his brother’s feelings whatsoever. He’s the type of character that makes you want to strangle him yourself.
Since he’s the driver of much of the plot of this film, it’s unfortunate that his motivations are so poor. While a number of the situations that occur are mildly comedic… much of the action is predicated by actions that leave you thinking “What an asshole”. Which is too bad, because the cast is pretty likeable, and this is a movie that at times, has it charms. Charlie Hunnam is a likeable lead, and everyone loves Lizzy Caplan of “Party Down”. “Law and Order”‘s Chris Noth plays a psycho washed-up actor going through rehab with Bruce. But the star of the show… with no debate… is Ron Perlman, who shows up in drag midway through as a post-op character who creepily wants to give everyone a good look at the outcome of his surgeries.
It’s a spotty film, mainly due to the fact that… when you can’t understand why a character is doing something, it feels as though things are happening for no reason. The crazy characters and likeable cast give it occasional bright spots, but not enough to elevate it into recommendable territory.