Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: 3, 2, 1…Frankie Go Boom

Try-too-hard plotting doesn't derail offbeat rom-com.

Oct 11, 2012

-By John DeFore


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1364918-Frankie_Go_Boom_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Though riddled with credibility-straining coincidences and over-the-top humiliation, Jordan Roberts' 3, 2, 1…Frankie Go Boom plays out with more charm than desperation. Thanks to writer-director Roberts' split-personality approach, in which he tries too hard on the page and then relaxes behind the camera, the family-dysfunction rom-com has some mainstream appeal, particularly with viewers accustomed to “It's Always Sunny”-style outlandishness.

The relaxed part of Roberts' filmmaking equation, one assumes, owes much to Frankie's cast, composed of actors who (with exceptions like Nora Dunn and Chris Noth) trust the laughs to come naturally. Leading the film with hunky ease (and a hit-and-miss American accent) is Charlie Hunnam, whose Frankie spent his childhood being tortured in home movies by brother Bruce (Chris O'Dowd), a wannabe auteur who developed a serious substance-abuse problem after childhood.

Having retreated to Death Valley after Bruce put a particularly traumatic event online for millions to see, Charlie reluctantly comes home for Bruce's graduation from rehab. There he meets Lassie (Lizzy Caplan), reeling from her own heartbreak, and the two spend several hours trying unsuccessfully to have sex. Guess what not-quite-reformed indie filmmaker secretly captures Frankie's erectile dysfunction on video?

Bruce's incorrigibility is new territory for O'Dowd, who radiated decency in Bridesmaids. But the actor maintains a straight-faced shamelessness here, tempering the wackiness of the pair's eventual efforts to get Bruce's no-sex sex tape taken off the Internet before it's seen by people who could ruin both brothers' dreams.

The film's tackiest ingredient, oddly, proves a high point. Roberts casts Ron Perlman as a post-op transsexual whose help Frankie needs, and in his way, Perlman is lovable as the affection-starved old dame. If his flirtation with Frankie invites "Beauty and the Beast" jokes, it also offers needed warmth to the picture while Frankie and Lassie's mixed-message romance is on hold

As Lassie, Caplan isn't asked to deploy her most withering looks, even when she learns that her failures as a seductress are the toast of the World Wide Web. That's just as well, because an easily scornful woman could never be won over by the film's final stunt, an "I'm sorry" gesture so corny even the sappiest Hollywood romance-peddler might blush.
The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: 3, 2, 1…Frankie Go Boom

Try-too-hard plotting doesn't derail offbeat rom-com.

Oct 11, 2012

-By John DeFore


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1364918-Frankie_Go_Boom_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Though riddled with credibility-straining coincidences and over-the-top humiliation, Jordan Roberts' 3, 2, 1…Frankie Go Boom plays out with more charm than desperation. Thanks to writer-director Roberts' split-personality approach, in which he tries too hard on the page and then relaxes behind the camera, the family-dysfunction rom-com has some mainstream appeal, particularly with viewers accustomed to “It's Always Sunny”-style outlandishness.

The relaxed part of Roberts' filmmaking equation, one assumes, owes much to Frankie's cast, composed of actors who (with exceptions like Nora Dunn and Chris Noth) trust the laughs to come naturally. Leading the film with hunky ease (and a hit-and-miss American accent) is Charlie Hunnam, whose Frankie spent his childhood being tortured in home movies by brother Bruce (Chris O'Dowd), a wannabe auteur who developed a serious substance-abuse problem after childhood.

Having retreated to Death Valley after Bruce put a particularly traumatic event online for millions to see, Charlie reluctantly comes home for Bruce's graduation from rehab. There he meets Lassie (Lizzy Caplan), reeling from her own heartbreak, and the two spend several hours trying unsuccessfully to have sex. Guess what not-quite-reformed indie filmmaker secretly captures Frankie's erectile dysfunction on video?

Bruce's incorrigibility is new territory for O'Dowd, who radiated decency in Bridesmaids. But the actor maintains a straight-faced shamelessness here, tempering the wackiness of the pair's eventual efforts to get Bruce's no-sex sex tape taken off the Internet before it's seen by people who could ruin both brothers' dreams.

The film's tackiest ingredient, oddly, proves a high point. Roberts casts Ron Perlman as a post-op transsexual whose help Frankie needs, and in his way, Perlman is lovable as the affection-starved old dame. If his flirtation with Frankie invites "Beauty and the Beast" jokes, it also offers needed warmth to the picture while Frankie and Lassie's mixed-message romance is on hold

As Lassie, Caplan isn't asked to deploy her most withering looks, even when she learns that her failures as a seductress are the toast of the World Wide Web. That's just as well, because an easily scornful woman could never be won over by the film's final stunt, an "I'm sorry" gesture so corny even the sappiest Hollywood romance-peddler might blush.
The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Amira & Sam
Film Review: Amira & Sam

A potentially intriguing interracial love story between an ex-soldier and Middle Eastern lass feels much too forced and contrived. More »

The Devils Violinist
Film Review: The Devil's Violinist

The latest classical-music legend to have his life trashed–again—by a cheaply sensationalistic movie, this famed fiddler deserved way better. More »

Backstreet Boys
Film Review: Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of

The ’90s boy band dusts itself off for a self-congratulatory, and not especially revelatory, career retrospective on the occasion of their 20th anniversary tour. More »

Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts 2015
Film Review: The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2015: Documentary

The long shadow and in-your-face reality of mortality shadows nearly all the entries in this year’s powerful, draining Oscar-nominated documentary short films program. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Project Almanac
Film Review: Project Almanac

Saying this underbaked Chronicle knockoff is meant for teenagers is an insult to the intelligence of teenagers everywhere. More »

The Wedding Ringer
Film Review: The Wedding Ringer

Intermittently amusing bro-comedy trifle that confirms Kevin Hart's talent, though not his taste in material. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here