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Vulgar

Fans of Kevin Smith deserve a movie like Vulgar, the brave film that dares to raise the sensitive-yet-universal issue of clown rape. Brian O'Halloran (Clerks' Dante) stars in this Smith-produced pile of silage as a down-on-his-luck party clown who plans a career turnaround as a cross-dressing prank entertainer at bachelor parties. On his first night out, however, Vulgar (formerly Flappy) is mercilessly beaten and raped by a sick bastard and his retarded sons. Following this excruciating set-piece, Vulgar turns into your typical blackmail yarn as a reborn Flappy rises to stardom while trying to keep his shameful secret under wraps. Writer-director Bryan Johnson (who has appeared in all of Smith's execrable films) has churned out a terrible piece of writing, flaccidly trying at first to imitate Smith's awkwardly over-verbose and limply unamusing "witty" dialogue, and then violently switching gears by depicting Vulgar's rape in unnecessary detail, and then unironically milking the situation for drama, as if Flappy were akin to Jodie Foster in The Accused. Worse yet, Johnson is incapable of plotting his situations in any credible manner and miserably fails to resolve his story with any imagination. Vulgar feels like a one-joke movie (that is, if you find rape funny) wherein the joke is played for sympathy. Smith's delusionally rabid fans will no doubt flock to see this inexcusable turd (both Smith and Jason Mewes make cameo appearances), but for those who wondered if anything could possibly be worse than Clerks, here is your answer. Lions Gate's DVD release of Vulgar offers an anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) and Dolby 2.0 Surround. Johnson and Smith provide running commentary, while the disc also includes a documentary praising Smith's Dogma, a collection of rejection letters from sensible film festivals, and a brief reel of deleted scenes. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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