It may surprise you to learn that in 2019, there exists two similar movies about people addicted to "swallowing," otherwise know as the fixation to ingest inanimate objects. One of them is Swallow, a measured story of a person dealing with mental illness, compounded by grief and anxiety. The other is titled Butt Boy. And while the name may suggest something sordid, it instead is a one-joke film that pushes its premise far further that it needs to go, with mixed results.

Chip (Tyler Cornack, who also co-wrote and directed the film) is your average middle-aged office drone. He's married, has a kid, and works his 9 to 5 with the minimal amount of effort possible. Then, one day he goes for his first ever prostate exam, and instantly, something is awoken in Chip. Feeling alive for the first time, he chases the sensation by, you guessed it, sticking more things up his butt. There's nothing he won't try, until he finds himself crossing the line of decency and committing a morally reprehensible (and thankfully, not shown on screen) act.

Realizing what he's done, Chip makes a vow to start anew, using the cover of AA meetings to quell his addiction. One day, Detective Russel Fox (Tyler Rice) wanders in, Chip is assigned as his sponsor, and this chance meeting causes Chip to relapse while a game of cat and butt plays out. What sells everything is that the film presents Russel as the world's most oblivious detective, to the point where the film comments on it, just so there isn't any confusion for the audience. Rice plays the role with a deft balance: part serious, part Robert De Niro impersonation. The second element would be so distracting if Rice didn't launch into it with such gusto. It's a lightning rod that the film wishes it could replicate elsewhere, if it had a better sense of what it wanted to accomplish.

Absurdity is ultimately the name of the game when it comes to Butt Boy, but there's not a lot to it beyond that. There’s no underlying subtext, no grand design—just the story of a man, an obsession, and possibly the origins of a super villain. The thing is, to describe the film is to make it sound like more enjoyable a ride than it actually is to behold. There are moments of humor that actually stick, but for the most part, the movie only keeps repeating itself, where you get an absurd situation and absurd dialogue played with a straight face, over and over.

For the first two acts, the film stays this course. It's not until the third and arguably best act that things actually come alive, toying with the comedy in a way that's only hinted at before. It's absolute insanity that seems like it was pulled from the most bizarre brainstorming sessions imaginable. It almost works, but it’s just too little too late. If there were an alternate world where Butt Boy was actually an Adult Swim series, and you could watch it in 11–15 minute chunks, it would be easily digestible. Yet, as a full-on feature, it ends up wearing thin on the viewers’ patience, until the final fleeting moments in which genuine laughter may take over.

With all its missteps, there's one truth in the matter here: you've never seen anything like Butt Boy before. You probably won't ever again, either. Although, that's probably a good thing in the end.

Movie Score: 2/5


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