Butt Boy tells the story of Chip Gutchel (Tyler Cornack, who also directed and co-wrote), an IT engineer bored of life. One day, after a routine prostate exam, he discovers he has an addiction to anal play. His wife is not too keen on this and refuses to indulge him. So, using his supernatural anus, he resorts to inserting various objects, which get larger and larger in size until eventually he has made a small dog and child disappear.
If this sounds ridiculous to you, you would not be alone, but this is only the opening ten minutes of the film. What follows is a bonkers additional 80 minutes. It’s nine years later, and Chip is now the Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor of hardened detective Russell (Tyler Rice), who’s turned to drink after the disappearance of his child nine years earlier. Now Russell is trying to prove that Chip and his magical butt are responsible for a new wave of disappearances, as Chip falls back into his addiction like a rectal Lennie from Of Mice and Men.
It should go without saying that Butt Boy is a ridiculously silly film – the premise and pitch do not even do this justice. It is an obvious tongue-in-cheek parody of detective thrillers, wrapped up in an absurdist premise. Russell is deliberately as stereotypical as possible as the grizzled detective archetype; straight-talking, smoking, greased back hair, leather jackets, and highly unprofessional. The film uses this to its advantage and it never really stops being entertaining, which is probably best highlighted in a montage of Russell leading a gloriously over-the-top bust operation, inter-cut with scenes of Chip… indulging himself.
The thing that separates Butt Boy from other comedy outings is the filmmaker’s decision to play it completely straight, as if this were, in fact, a serious thriller. The choice to present the film as a straight-laced, hard-hitting drama is a commendable one, albeit risky. In general, the risk pays off well in the sillier scenes. Seeing a veteran detective navigate a Stranger Things-like dimension inside the antagonist’s colon – which we do wish they had called the backside down – as if it were a prison break in Oz is a genuine joy. The issue is that when this same gravity is applied to the film’s less comical scenes, such as the emotionally weighted reunion of Russell and his missing child, it makes the overall product more confusing, and you’re not really sure if it’s a comedy or a rejected Torchwood script.
The sombre tone also takes its toll on the pacing. When Butt Boy gets going, it is the best kind of ridiculous, fast-paced nonsense. Unfortunately, this is largely reserved for the final 25 minutes. The film started its life as a one minute sketch, which was largely re-adapted and stretched out to create the film’s opening ten minutes. It is easy to feel that perhaps the final product would have been better suited to a short film rather than a feature-length, as several scenes do feel a tad unnecessary. That said, in places, this tone and pace makes Butt Boy feel like a crisply shot mumblecore project, which is not without its charm.
When making a film that is deliberately daft, it can be extremely easy to fall into the trap of trying too hard and falling flat. This is not something that Butt Boy does. It’s by no means a perfect film, and every so often will inevitably go too out of its way to be ridiculous or rely on gross-out humour. Although, for a film centred around a killer backside, the gross-out humour is surprisingly sparse. The original score by Feathers also does a lot to elevate the film, with a high quality, atmospheric synth soundtrack with the ominous vibes of Stranger Things.
Butt Boy will not be for everyone, but with a premise like this, that should go without saying. This is a great film for late-night gatherings with friends. With a left-field, serious approach, and a surprisingly effective look into the world of addiction, there is enough to it that it is well worth checking out for reasons other than its surreal selling point.