Monday, June 18, 2012

Flexing With Monty

Allegedly, it took director John Albo six years to distribute this pseudo-art film to the public. He should have waited longer. Or better yet, not distributed it at all. Flexing With Monty is an unappealing, unlikable, incomprehensible, badly written mess. It's not the acting that's the problem. The actors try their best (Rudi Davis being the weakest) but are weighed down by a bad script. Very little of the dialogue seems like something anyone in  the real world would say.

   Stylized dialogue can be an asset -- it can be witty and smart (Juno) or deliberately enigmatic and formal (The Living and the Dead, an art film which I loved, by the way.) The dialogue in Flexing With Monty is stiff, pretentious, overly sexual-minded, self-indulgently perverse, and shocking for the sake of being shocking. There are several characters in this movie, and I didn't like any of them, and that includes the masturbating guy in the cage, the tattooed nun, and the cockatoo.  

   Monty is the center of this film, and as nasty and unlikable a character as you can come across. Monty, played by the deceased Trevor Goddard, is a misogynistic, hateful bodybuilder who works out constantly but who's mind is dull and doltish. His brother Bertin (Rudi Davis), who is described as "sensitive, gay, and intellectual" by reviewers, seems like a character I would like, but he isn't. He's nearly as obnoxious as Monty. And I'm not entirely sure he's gay, as he harbors incestuous fantasies about his birth mother.

   The movie is full of incestuous overtones. Monty and Bertin show inappropriate impulses towards each other, their one-eyed grandmother gave them (naked) rubdowns, and when Bertin finally discovers the identity of his birth mother, a make-out session commences. I'm no fan of Harmony Korine, but the similarly incestuously themed Julien Donkey-Boy was way better than this. Bertin purchases an "exotic animal," which turns out to be an Aborigine man who wanks, makes moaning sounds, and, in one scene, sings harmoniously. His part in the story is never explained. Why would it? He's there to enhance the cultish quality movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show strive for.

   A nun appears on the scene. She is collecting money to stop a nuclear holocaust, and Monty tells her to piss off. But the nun keeps coming back, insisting on seeing the brothers. "What is the connection between them?" the movie wants us to ask. Do we even care? A prostitute is mysteriously sent to the house, and she and Monty engage in some role-play (in which bear-rape comes to the table). In one scene, Monty bangs an inflatable doll while watching a slide show of himself flexing (one of the few witty parts, as it shows him in all his masturbatory grandiosity.) Bertin and Monty fight and engage in weird sexual tension. Not much happens, and what does happen is in equal parts bewildering and inexplicable.

   There are some attempts at controversy, such as the knitting-needle abortion dream sequence and Monty's brutal attack on the gay man, but they seem kind of silly compared to movies like Audition. Another problem is the soundtrack -- the music turns on and off as it pleases and has no sense of dramatic tension. Someone online described it as a satire of American Values (not a direct quote), but even as a film that pokes fun at Americans, which never gets old for some people, it's a dreadful mess of a movie that should not be watched under any circumstances.

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