SXSW Review: frankie go boom


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With a star-studded cast, frankie go boom should have been one of the best comedies of the year. With actors ranging from Charlie Hunnam to Chris O’Dowd to Ron Perlman to Lizzy Caplan, the cast itself should have solidified the film’s success. However, in an attempt to be a different comedy, it ended up being more of the same type of comedy we’ve seen for years.

frankie go boom
Director: Jordan Roberts
Rating: TBD
Release Date: TBD

After his brother, Bruce (Chris O’Dowd), is released from rehab 90 days sober, Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) believes their relationship can become much stronger than it has been (especially because of Bruce’s knack for filming and uploading embarrassing events of Frankie’s life onto the Internet). After Frankie meets Lassie (Lizzy Caplan) one night, the two attempt to do sex awkwardly. Unbeknownst to them, however, is that Bruce has the shack bugged with cameras. Once Frankie and Bruce realize that Lassie is the daughter of a famed, albeit washed-up actor (Chris Noth), they must go to desperate lengths to ensure he doesn’t find out, the least of which including getting help from a transgendered hacker, Phyllis (Ron Perlman).

The biggest draw for frankie go boom is Ron Perlman in drag. However, after the initial shock, which admittedly lasts for awhile, you realize that the film doesn’t do much to separate itself from any other raunchy comedy. Every character fits into archetypes that have been staples of the comedy genre for years: Frankie is the sympathetic protagonist; Bruce is the asshole antagonist that honestly means well; Lassie is the quirky love interest that tries to fit into the overall scheme; and Phyllis is the wacky side character that is almost always destined to steal the show from the others.

Even if frankie go boom doesn’t change the direction of the genre, at least it’s funny, right? Well.. the film definitely has some moments, but they’re not very memorable. Again, outside of seeing Perlman in drag, nothing really sticks out. It’s unfortunate, too, because with a vast of this pedigree, you’d assume it’d be funnier than it actually turned out to be. This isn’t a knock against any of the actors, though. In fact, Caplan steals some of the spotlight from the others herself with her performance. She’s still a bit of an unknown actress to general audiences, so it’s good to see her catch a role that could give her more exposure.

frankie go boom should have been funnier than what it ended up being. With comedies, the real laughs are in the risks that are made. While it did take a successful risk with Perlman, the one-note gimmick wasn’t enough to carry the entirety of the film. It’s still, however, a light comedy with a happy ending that might attract general audiences. However, if you’re looking for something more, you won’t find it here.