Movie Review: "Slapped! The Movie" (2018)
It may seem like I’m all horror, all the time. This isn’t 100% true. I’m a comedy guy, raised by cultured parents in the 80’s and 90’s who understood the value of a good laugh. I grew up listening to classic Steve Martin and Cheech & Chong albums. I watched a ton of classic SNL and Second City TV. My stand-up comedy knowledge base is both deep and wide. There isn’t really a kind of comedy I can’t get into, from slapstick to intellectual to raunchy to The Three Stooges. I love it all.
I also have very strong opinions about the state of comedy today. I believe the genre is in a place similar to horror in the early-mid 90’s, not dead but a little stale and unoriginal. There just isn’t that much comedy hitting theaters that tickles my pickle. Most of what works for me is the stuff I’m finding on the streaming services that isn’t getting a lot of hype. You have to dig further for the gems.
Needless to say, I was intrigued when writer/director Alex Magaña (Narco Valley) asked me to review his new flick, Slapped! The Movie (out now on Amazon Prime). I crossed my fingers and my toes and sat down for a watch. I was further intrigued to discover that it’s born of a highly-rated web series (8.7/10 on IMDB) web series from 2013 that stars Alex himself as well as his co-writer and good buddy, Matt Lowe (Adventures in #Adulting).
Slapped! The Movie is the tale of two joined at the hip best friends, Alex (Alex Magaña) and Matt (Matt Lowe). They’re polar opposites. Alex is a disciplined eater and worker, healthy, trim, and great looking. He’s also boring as fuck. Matt is “that guy”; we all have a friend like Matt. He’s overweight and smothered by his mother, lazy and unmotivated. He’s also funny as all get-out, charismatic and endearing. They’re perfect for each other, though each secretly craves the other's life. In a nasty take on the classic body-swap premise (think Freaky Friday, The Hot Chick, or 13 Going on 30), the two best friends get their wish but are unable to escape. Their life becomes a clusterfuck of each trying to make the other behave, be it eating right, not doing drugs, or keeping their hands off the girlfriends/women around them. Can they get back to normal? Will their friendship survive?
Slapped! The Movie isn’t perfect, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t have a good time. Many of the necessary boxes for a classic raunchy, politically incorrect, gross-out comedy are in place: a colorful cast of zany archetype characters, implausibly disgusting scenarios, great chemistry between the main players, and smokin’ hot women.
Make no mistake about it: this is pure, unadulterated immature comedy. There’s nothing highbrow about it. You’ll be treated to fleshlights modeled after Taylor Swift’s mouth, cum shots, a lesbian stripper Mom who’s married to an even hotter blond stripper named Shaniqua (?), the best anti-weed satire I’ve seen in a while, a smart car that sounds like a lawnmower, an homage to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and highly offensive parody names like Jewpon (Groupon) and Queery (Siri). The cheap-ass cooking show is worth the price of admission alone. It’s comedy gold.
Magaña understands the history of comedy, both what works and what doesn’t. There’s no shortage of passion in the making of this film. You can see the chops he and Lowe have as creators. It’s a bit like watching John Landis’ freshman effort, Schlock. The style and fingerprint are already apparent, just very raw. I believe this will be revisited some day when he’s a much bigger name with more colors to paint with and nicer brushes.
Not every bit works, of course. A lot of that has to do with the running time- at an hour and 59 minutes it’s just too long. I get it; you want to squeeze in every great idea. There comes a point, though, where there are just too many ingredients in your dish.
In the words of our greatest living writer, Stephen King: “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”
That darling-killing shit is hard to do, especially when you are putting your heart and soul into as they’ve clearly done here. Slapped! The Movie gets an absolute A for effort. You could do a hell of a lot worse, especially with it being on Amazon Prime (a.k.a. the $100 a year I couldn’t live without). It’s pure cock and awe, gross-out fun that gets a lot right.
And what it gets wrong it gets wrong with some fucking heart. Go ahead and get slapped!
3.5 out of 5.0 stars