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Entries in Evil Bong 3D: The Wrath of Bong [2011] (1)

Sunday
Apr102011

Evil Bong 3D: The Wrath of Bong (2011)

Toke it to the Limit

Last night, I attended the world premiere of Evil Bong 3D: The Wrath of Bong at Chicago's Portage Theatre.  In addition to 3D glasses and "Sniff-O-Rama" cards, fans were treated to a truncated version of director Charles Band's Full Moon Road Show.  This included a funny fifteen-minute monologue about his early days as a filmmaker/independent distributor; an outrageous, on-the-spot casting call for a skit involving a man in an electric chair, his treacherous best friend, and three horny lesbians; and a marriage proposal by Patrick Klepek, who won a contest to name the film (his girlfriend said "yes"; and if the weekend-long Puppet Master marathon they indulged in to celebrate their one-year dating anniversary is any indication, I'd say they're in for a long, happy life together).

Band put on quite a show, and his vulgar energy kept me from getting too annoyed that the film's 8:30 start time was delayed by more than an hour.  His charms won the audience over, too, or at least the auteur's ability to convince random girls to expose their breasts on stage in the name of "art" did.  Of the three who'd agreed to make with the goods, only one followed through--a petite, blonde dominatrix named Missy, who looked all of eighteen years old.

It's this kind of depraved, bouncing glee that I'd like to see more of in Band's Evil Bong series.  The first was a soft horror/fantasy-stoner-sitcom whose concept and cast kept it from being a total downer.  The second showed a great deal of improvement, mostly having to do with the story's larger scope and the fun visuals that come with a larger budget.  But with Wrath of Bong, Band and screenwriter August White slip back into the habits that made their initial outing kind of a drag.

The movie catches us up with lovable stoner stooges Larnell (John Patrick Jordan), Bachman (Mitch Eakins), and Brett (Brian Lloyd), who've landed the ultimate kush-y job as co-managers of a Santa Monica head shop.  One day, a man (Irwin Keyes) brings in a mysterious bong that he discovered in a meteor crater near the site where he'd been digging a shallow grave for his recently murdered wife. Brett buys it off him for twenty bucks, and Bachman immediately sneaks off to the back room to test out the goods.  Too bad for him, the bong is an alien intelligence bent on world domination, who uses cosmic pot smoke to teleport Bachman back to his home world.

Too bad for us, this kicks off a re-hash of the first film, with the only differences being the antagonist's accent (Circus-Szalewski's austere British vs. Michelle Mais' sassy 'hood) and the fact that we're dealing with chintzy alien-planet sets instead of chintzy fantasy-night-club sets.  The characters are systematically sucked (inhaled?) into bong world, and one of them must rally their waning strength to pull out his friends and blow up the evil bong.  Band and White incorporate a bit of variety by injecting some of Evil Bong 2's more effective elements; namely, drawing the focus away from the guys' nerdy science buddy Alistair (Peter Stickles, the third actor to play the part in as many movies; it's the series' best running joke), and reviving Larnell's grumpy, corrupt grandfather, Gramps (Jacob Witkin), who's become a medical-marijuana-magnate--complete with tie-dye shirt, pigtails, and mute Amazonian nurse named Hookah (Christina DeRosa).

Evil Bong 3D has a lot going for it, outside the actual story.  As I've mentioned before, the cast is very likable and the jokes White writes for them get better with each outing.  There's also the matter of the 3D which, as Band noted in his introduction, has become such serious business in Hollywood that he wanted to bring the technology back to its "stuff coming out at you from the screen" roots.  Indeed, the gratuitously protruding knives, broom handles, and moss-infested tongues (don't ask) provide the entertainment that the story doesn't quite deliver.

Best yet are the "Sniff-O-Rama" cards that contain eight numbered circles corresponding to numbers that flash on the screen at particular spots in the movie.  It's a great idea, unless you're carrying the card around for awhile before showtime:  The general consensus was that, even pre-scratched, they smelled like cat urine (a far more pleasant odor, believe it or not, than circle number six).

These gimmicks, combined with Band's spontaneous pre-show carnival of the weird, were so much fun that Evil Bong 3D being a let-down was almost inevitable.  Yet, I strongly believe the movie could have been amazing, had Band and White learned from and expanded on the improvements they made in the first sequel.  The script for Evil Bong 2 allowed the actors to break out of the "Geek", "Jock", "Stoner" archetypes and widened the world in which the characters lived.  It's hard to accept the low-rent head-shop set as Evil Bong 3D's main location after having spent much of the previous adventure in the jungles of South America (and, no, I'm not stupid enough to believe Evil Bong 2 was filmed in South America).

If Band is to find future success with this franchise (the movie ends with a promise of Evil Bong 4: Evil Bong vs. The Killer Crack Pipe), he must demand more of his budget and screenwriter. We've sat through three films in which talking bongs threaten destruction or world domination, but for the most part we never leave the four walls of what might as well be a porn set.  I wouldn't have begun watching this series if I didn't think there was inherent promise in its setup; but instead of the wacky, frightening, imaginative trilogies Band built his empire producing, Evil Bong has regressed into a series of babbling talkies that one might only appreciate stoned.  For those of us who get high on movies and not weed, it'd be nice of him to pass the good stuff once in awhile.

Full Disclosure:  At this very moment, there exists footage of me telling audiences to "run, don't walk" to see the "bong-tastic" Evil Bong 3D.  I don't know if this will ever make it into the film's promotional materials, but this innate whoredom and need to be liked is the reason I write instead of perform any kind of video blogging.  Put a camera in front of me, and all of a sudden I'm eight years old again, re-creating You Can't Do That On Television skits in my bedroom.  But you should know that I fully endorse the film as a theatrical experience.  The Road Show and kitschy accoutrements are quite awesome.  But the movie's luster will likely fade on the home-video market.

See?  I'm a prostitute, not a hypocrite.