The other day, my girlfriend came home waving a DVD case at me and declaring that inside was a movie I needed to watch with her. I eyed her dubiously, not because I mistrusted her opinion, but because I just do that anyway. I examined the case and saw that the movie was "Watch Out", directed by Steve Balderson, the guy who brought us "Firecracker" (with Mike Patton).
What ensued was a disturbingly funny flick about a fellow, Jonathan Barrows (played by Matt Riddlehoover) who is completely in love with himself. And I do mean completely.
As a child, Jonathan is given plentiful opportunities, OK...forced opportunities, to explore his sexuality with other women. His parents are disappointed when Jonathan, and his penis, do not respond appropriately. We get the feeling that this might be at least partly responsible for Jonathan's foul, and eventually murderous, mood and the love affair he carries on with himself.
Aside from looking at himself in the mirror constantly, filming himself in the shower, and taking seductive photos of himself with his Polaroid, Jonathan even goes so far as taping a photo of his face to a male blowup doll and having anal intercourse with it! But that's not even the best part of the movie. Funnier still are the elegant diatribes of hatred against humanity and the human need for companionship, at the same time defending what he believes is the perfect state, individuality.
Placed quite frequently throughout the movie are more of Jonathan's insights. He hates people, viciously, and is not afraid to tell them that. He explains, quite eloquently, the reasons that every other human is far below him in both beauty and intelligence and why he is essentially their God. Jonathan impales people with his words, turns them into ground hamburger even when they are simply trying to be polite to him. While being appalled at Jonathan's behavior, you still can't help but feel that Jonathan is at least 50% right.
The movie climaxes with Jonathan capturing and torturing an annoying pop diva (Britney Spears?) in what is admittedly the most rewarding part of the movie. Ahhh, the simple pleasures!
If there is a fault here, it is that the movie is just too overtly gay even when trying to be genuinely straight. It really comes down to the way Riddlehoover speaks. Unfortunately, and I'm going to sound hateful here, throughout the movie Mr. Riddlehoover sounds like a seventeen year old girl telling you about her latest trip to the mall. It actually makes some of the narrative hard to follow, although the "lispy" hateful tone he takes is hilarious at times. Jonathan declares, whilst chastising one woman who is trying to win his affection in return for better grades, that he isn't gay and that he also finds men completely appalling. I just don't believe it, and I don't feel that Riddlehoover tried to stretch too much in this role.
One other little item is that this movie is sometimes just a little too cerebral for me. I appreciate intelligent concepts, but there are times that I feel "Watch Out" missed some golden opportunities to evoke a deeper sadness related to the human condition. A good example of a similarly disturbing movie that did do this for me was "Gummo".
Filled with a cast of misfits and weirdoes, "Watch Out" is one that will go on the shelf next to your other bizarro films like "The Doom Generation", "Donnie Darko", and "Gummo".
"Watch Out" is a keeper, filled with humorous and shocking moments that will make you look at your significant other and mutter "wow". The concept itself is quite genius, the execution just pretty good. Not for the faint of heart.
I give this movie a 7.5 out of 10.
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