Buttwhistle (NR)

Comedy 93 April 25, 2014
By Inkoo Kang
Some people are beyond help. Community college student Ogden's (Trevor Morgan) firm refusal to accept such breezy cynicism provides the modest tension in Tenney Fairchild's intermittently amusing comic drama Buttwhistle.

Ogden's heroic rescue of teenage Beth (Elizabeth Rice) from a suicide attempt becomes his undoing. After rebuffing her sexual advances, Ogden invites this stranger in stripper boots and raccoon eyeliner to stay with him. His compassion is repaid with a Jobian trial in which Beth dares him to hate her (or fuck her) by dumping his clothes in the garbage, cutting up his photos, and wrecking his relationships with friends and co-workers.

Ogden responds only with an unfazed smile that masks a stark emotional detachment. While Beth schemes, he loses himself in conversations with his ghostly friend Rose (Analeigh Tipton). Rose is everything Beth isn't: sweet, sexy, gone. It's no wonder Ogden changes his name to a trumpet-like fart — not "Buttwhistle," but the sound of one — when the girl of his dreams disappears. Wah-waaaah.

The virgin-whore dichotomy between the two female characters flattens the film into something much less interesting than it could have been, and the tonal discrepancies occasionally threaten to take it into experimental territory. (In an unresolved plotline, an office worker's head inexplicably explodes.) Of consolation, then, are Buttwhistle's small, disconnected charms: the opening credits' parkour sequence, the self-consciously clever dialogue, Ogden's vision of his loud best friend as a bar of soap with green lips straight out of vintage MTV.
Tenney Fairchild Trevor Morgan, Analeigh Tipton, Elizabeth Rice, Adhir Kalyan, Thomas Jane Tenney Fairchild Breaking Glass Pictures


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