I watched the Tyler Cornack-directed, Bill Morean and Ryan Koch co-produced and co-written film, Butt Boy, this weekend. It’s out this week from Epic Pictures, and I’m definitely still processing it.
“Chip Gutchel (Tyler Cornack), a bored IT Engineer, has an awakening after a routine prostate exam. What starts as a harmless rectal kink, soon grows into a dangerous addiction as he becomes responsible for a missing child. Chip eventually buries his desires in Alcoholics Anonymous and tries to move on with his life.
Years later, he becomes the sponsor of Russell Fox (Tyler Rice), a newly sober detective. After Chip relapses, Russell is brought in to investigate another missing child at Chip’s office. Russell begins to suspect that Chip’s addiction may not be to alcohol, but something much more sinister. It’s up to Russell now to prove that Chip uses his butt to make people disappear. But who’s going to believe his wild theory?”
Yeah. Seriously. I had to be talked into reviewing this by the publicist, because this seemed like a ridiculous Tim & Eric thing that was just going to be pure absurdity to the point of inanity, wherein I waste an hour and a half of my Saturday watching a movie that leads to me wanting to punch my television in half. On the face of it, that plot summary is the sort of thing that reads like a joke.
In reality, though, Butt Boy is so much more. It works, and not in spite of its subject matter, but because of the way it approaches it. The film is essentially kind of like Swallow, but instead of Haley Bennett and pica, you get Tyler Cornack and OAPD (Google it!).
Butt Boy is – dare I say it? – gritty? As Russell Fox, Tyler Rice is 100% stereotypical cop, which is even mentioned by Chip when they’re hanging out after Tyler’s first AA meeting. He’s Al Pacino circa the early ’80s, but not in a parodic tone. Butt Boy plays this whole thing straight. There’s no winks to be had, and if there were, it would collapse in upon itself.
There are elements of Butt Boy with which I’m not particularly down. Shelby Dash as Chip’s wife, Anne, is given the thankless task of playing yet another sexually disinterested wife, whose lack of willingness to participate in Chip’s newfound proclivities can be read as being the precipitating event leading to Butt Boy’s unhinged behavior. It’s a tired idea, and just plain lazy, especially as it’s not spun in any ways which can be seen as being particularly novel or true.
At least the portrayal of addiction and recovery is given some aspect of honesty. The detective driven to drink by a past personal trauma is a noir hallmark, but at least Russell’s character arc isn’t played for tired story beats. Chip’s past behavior really fucked up our cop protagonist, and his struggles are real.
Props to cinematographer William Morean, who makes this look dark and seedy, with a real sheen of oiliness permeating Butt Boy. It’s contrasted beautifully by the nearly-antiseptic look of Chip’s home, as well, letting the film really lean into just what kind of man our villain might be.
The last 20 minutes are off the rails in terms of plot, but again, Butt Boy doesn’t go for “would you look at this?!?” Instead, it opts to make Chip’s colon akin to something from a fairy tale, crossed with “evil villain’s basement” darkness.
I cannot believe that’s a sentence which I have written.
Suffice it to say, Butt Boy is a film which must be seen to be believed. Treating the tale of a butt-stuffing villain with all the straightforwardness of any ’50s noir picture, playing cat and mouse between two very damaged individuals, Tyler Cornack’s film manages to defy and all expectations which a viewer might have,
Butt Boy is available today on VOD from Epic Pictures, with DVD and Blu-ray coming on April 28.