Brain Donors (1992)

“A Flakfizer doesn’t know the MEANING of the word ‘No!’ We’re also a little fuzzy on ‘panaglutin’ and ‘viscosity.'”

Shalen’s Rating: None of this is really happening.

Shalen’s Dedication: This review is dedicated to my friends DaintyBelle and Enigmatic, who forced me to watch it (and I’m glad they did).

Shalen’s Review: Most of the time I try to avoid reviewing comedies. This is for a couple of reasons. First, a funny movie is always hard to review in a funny way. So this review probably won’t be very entertaining. And second, everyone has a different sort of preference in what is or is not funny, so I could recommend this movie or declare it trash and get hostile emails from an equal number of readers. Lots of people loved the Austin Powers movies. I hated them. Lots of people loved Scary Movie. I hated it. Lots of people have seen all of the American Pie films. I refuse categorically to watch them.*

My normal preference in humor tends more toward the “unrealistically clever bon mots” school and away from the “things that happen in the crotch region are funny” school. This means I sometimes watch comedy of manners a la Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen. I don’t mind older slapstick like Young Frankenstein, but the recent products of the genre are just generally too scatological for me to enjoy them.

That being the case, I wish there were more movies like this one. Because this movie is absolutely stark insane.

It’s loosely based on a Marx Brothers routine called A Night at the Opera, and you can see a couple of homages, especially the way Flakfizer walks and the cigar he often carries around. And if you like the Marx brothers, you’ll probably enjoy this movie. I’ve never seen an entire Marx movie, but I sat through this one in near-paralysis, trying to convince myself I hadn’t accidentally dropped acid without noticing. It’s not just that it’s goofy. It’s not just that it’s got slapstick and one-liners. It’s not the double-entendres and the obvious elbow-wink moments. It’s that all of those things happen simultaneously and at a breakneck pace.

To the extent that there is a plot, it’s about Roland T. Flakfizer’s attempt to put himself in the clover by conning a rich woman into setting up a successful ballet company, in the meantime helping out two young ballet dancers in love and giving the arrogant older danseur his comeuppance. Rocco and Jacques sort of wander into the plot from various directions and stay for the duration, and the three of them then proceed to do whatever they please in whatever setting they happen to stumble upon.

Some things may amuse you and some may not, but at several jokes per minute there’s probably something for you to laugh at. There’s nothing that drags on and bogs down the film. There are no crushingly awful things, although the acting of the real ballet artists comes close. (Apparently they don’t take so well to acting as professional ballroom dancers do.) I wouldn’t call this exactly child-friendly, given that some of the humor is sexual in nature, but it’s far less inappropriate than most such material that’s presented in PG-13 movies now. There’s definitely no crap-flinging or sex with pastry. This film at its core is actually rather innocent, existing in its own wild little universe wherein some bizarre circumstance or other lurks around every corner.

It’s hard for me to say exactly what I thought was funny about this movie. There’s just so much of everything. But I can definitely say I almost busted a gut laughing while I watched it, and hopefully so will some of you.

*Along with American Beauty and Titanic. I also refuse to watch The Princess Diaries, but not categorically. I am strangely fond, however, of Shriek.

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