Butt Boy, 2020
Directed by Tyler Cornack
Starring Tyler Cornack, Shelby Dash, Tyler Dryden, Anna Wholey, Tyler Rice, and Angela Jones
Detective Fox loves work and alcohol. After he goes to AA, his sponsor, Chip, becomes the main suspect of his investigation for a missing kid. Fox believes people are disappearing up Chip’s butt.
The only thing more bizarre the plot of Tyler Cornack’s Butt Boy is his creative decision to play the absurdity straight for entirely too long before embracing its inherent silliness. Maybe it’s a matter of budget (there is some… um, production design in the final act that is decent in terms of ambition and scope for such a small project), the misguided impulse to attempt saying something about addiction in a movie where every character just feels plucked from a generic CSI show, or the filmmaker simply stretching the narrative beyond its limits, but Butt Boy is often about as frustrating to watch as dealing with indigestion.
Also stepping in front of the camera, Tyler Cornack is Chip, an IT technician and family man who discovers he enjoys the kink of having things crammed up his ass following a normal prostate exam. This develops into an addiction that threatens to fracture his family, and without giving away too many details, it does lead to an offputtingly handled suicide attempt where the story is picked up years later with Chip having seemingly recovered from his demons under the guise of battling alcoholism. Would you want to confess to your significant other that you have been compulsively shoving things inside your rear end? Probably not, so there is a throughline set up regarding kinks and shame, but it’s never followed through on from a character perspective, which is baffling considering that’s about the only way to justify the dramatic tone of the first hour.
Instead, Chip is now the Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor for Russel (Tyler Rice), a now sober detective that naturally gives a call whenever he feels like he is about to relapse. Together, they share a night out at a restaurant discussing their vices in one of the film’s only semi-thoughtful dialogue exchanges, retriggering Chip’s urges of well, butt-play. Again, a better stab at treating this material seriously would focus on the parallel between those addictions, honing on the fact that any and every addiction imaginable is problematic.
Meanwhile, Russel trots around trying to solve a mystery of disappearances with no depth or emotional range beyond the stereotypical hard-boiled detective voice (the movie also has a bad habit of lingering on characters doing nothing or mundane interactions). Taken so seriously with such poor execution, it’s a relief that Butt Boy eventually does find the ludicrous comedy in the situation as the story escalates. The plot may go exactly where one thinks it will go, but thankfully that doesn’t stop it from being insane and needing to be seen to be believed. Even the script (also done by Tyler Cornack, alongside Ryan Koch) starts to sprinkle in more humor by way of puns and witty lines. As entertaining as it is, it’s all the more irritating that the first hour is so off-base and has no idea how to grab attention besides making good (possibly overwhelming to some) use of a hazy musical score from the filmmakers (yes, Tyler and Ryan also do the music) that is fairly blunt in foreshadowing that inevitably, reality is going to be thrown out the window.
Again, there are no real surprises in Butt Boy, but the final act certainly brings the craziness to a degree where it’s hard to stop watching. Clench your anus for the finale. It’s tough to give the film a recommendation on the whole, but it’s wonderful that it even exists and is more than deserving of checking out.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, friend me on Facebook, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, check out my personal non-Flickering Myth affiliated Patreon, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com