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Family comedies are rarely this outrageously, offensively successful...
Universal / 89 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: May 14, 2013
Frankie Go Boom (originally titled 3, 2, 1…Frankie Go Boom) is often unspeakably vulgar. Many comedies fall into that category these days, but in director Jordan Roberts’ vision, characters have deep feelings and connections with one another but aren’t afraid to unleash hilariously off-color tirades about one another that are frequently bawdy and shocking.
It’s basically just a dysfunctional family drama, but even if Frankie Go Boom defaults to simple-comedy genre staples in some of its more pivotal moments, it comes to life with impressive dramatic fullness quite often. Our protagonist is the shut-in Frankie (Charlie Hunnam), a writer who would rather life on his own in seclusion than find himself in the world where he’d likely be recognized as ‘that guy’ from the internet videos that his brash brother Bruce (Chris O’Dowd) was behind.
Bruce chronicled Frankie’s doomed wedding (bride hooked up with the best man), and said prank became a viral phenomenon: it drove Frankie away from civilization and sent his overall family dynamic into a tailspin. Where Frankie Go Boom comes in is the family matriarch’s (Nora Dunn’s) desire for reconnection – she wants everybody to kiss and make up as Frankie finishes his latest state of rehab, and things don’t go well.
Frankie Go Boom is an unfinessed film, one with edges so rough that it’s really pretty unappealing, but it gets one thing wonderfully right: it nails its fraternal dynamics. O’Dowd and Hunnam interact with hilarious dexterity and volatility – their brothers are just as likely to murder each other as they are to embrace with pure earnest. It’s probably unfair to label Frankie Go Boom as anything more than just another red-band comedy, but every now and then, it inspires a loony, audacious giggle. And sometimes that’s enough.