Imagine a Spencer Gifts store packed with nothing but sexist-catchphrase T-shirts and novelty items shaped like dicks and you’ll have a good idea of Supercon’s aesthetic. The film follows washed-up former child actor Keith Mahar (Russell Peters) on the convention circuit until he pulls a heist at a con with his ragtag friends; early on, Keith refers to his ex-wife as a “cuntburger,” and the dude-ish crudeness only gets more cringe-inducing from there. An Asian character is introduced and quickly discarded for the sole purpose of a joke at his expense equating his semen with soy sauce. During the heist, with all its convoluted break-ins, a character ends up covered in shit. It might entertain a rowdy teen boy but is likely to make pretty much everyone else roll their eyes. It’s a shame, because convention culture, with its devotion to consumerism, is certainly a fruitful subject for satire.
Supercon, directed by former Kevin Smith assistant Zak Knutson, doesn’t offer any commentary beyond craven attempts at bro-ish laughter. The most inspired part of the film comes in the form of snippets of fake Eighties action TV shows — these images at least have some playful style, but they don’t take up much screen time. In what might just be the most puzzling part of this mess, John Malkovich plays a supporting role. It’s mildly amusing to see him here, but one can’t help but wonder what the hell he’s doing. More than anything else, Supercon is a drag: The heist plot offers none of the excitement typically associated with the genre. If you find repeated use of the phrase “ball cancer” hilarious, you’ll be well served; if you don’t, well, it’s a tough sit.
Directed by Zak Knutson
Opens April 27, Cinema Village
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 24, 2018