There are those moments of actor transformation that you will always remember. Tom Cruise as the balding Hollywood agent Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder. Christian Bale’s insane weight loss for Brad Anderson’s The Machinist. Gary Oldman’s unrecognizable makeup in Hannibal. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Bruce Willis makeup in Looper. In this month’s new release Frankie Go Boom, Ron Perlman, a man known for roles with heavy makeup such as Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy, appears as you have never seen him before.
Frankie Bartlett (Charlie Hunnam) has always been tortured by his brother Bruce (Chris O’Dowd). Bruce has always fancied himself a filmmaker and constantly filmed pranks that Frankie was the target of. Now grown up and living a solitary life in the middle of the desert, Frankie is called back home by his Mom (Nora Dunn) to celebrate Bruce’s benchmark of sobriety. Frankie reluctantly goes home but quickly regrets it. After a tragic disappointment at his wedding that Bruce filmed and posted on the internet, Frankie has never trusted Bruce and now he is at it again. When Bruce filmed Frankie in bed with a girl (Lizzy Caplan), posts it on the internet and sends it to a fallen Hollywood producer (Chris Noth), Frankie must rush to get it back before the producer realizes the girl in the video is his own daughter.
Frankie Go Boom is a lot of fun. The cast has a lot of fun together, especially Hunnam and O’Dowd. O’Dowd himself has gone into full on John C. Reilly territory here with an outrageous character that you can’t help but despise and like at the same time. Caplan is very good as well with a look that I couldn’t help but compare to Zooey Deschanel. And Hunnam holds it all together well as the sad sack who has been hurt so bad he literally wants to stay in the middle of the desert and not interact with anyone. The laughs are frequent and the performances are good across the board, which brings me to the aforementioned Ron Perlman. Perlman plays Phil, a friend of Bruce’s that is a master computer expert that helps Frankie get the video off the internet. While Phil used to be a big tough guy, he has recently undergone sexual reassignment surgery to become Phyllis. Unfortunately for him, he still looks like Ron Perlman but with long hair, makeup and shiny robes. It is quite the site to behold and one you won’t be able to shake for quite some time. But Perlman fully embraces the role and really nails it.
The Blu-ray from Universal is very nice for a lower budget comedy. The picture is crisp and clean throughout with nice close up detail and solid color. This isn’t a movie that wows visually, but the quality of the picture is stellar for what it is. A nice little diamond in the rough, Frankie Go Boom is worth checking out.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.