Narcissism clouds the senses, but in Steve Balderson's assaultive film it's virtually an airborne toxic event. In a role that's an exhibitionist's dream, Nashville actor-filmmaker Matt Riddlehoover lets it all hang out as Johnny, an effete, persnickety dweeb who's fallen for the perfect guy. But he's not gay, as he's quick to tell the unfortunate women (and men) who lust after him—the perfect guy is himself, and he's dying for a tryst. Holed up in a hotel room where he's ostensibly waiting for a college interview, he caresses his buff bod, devotedly Polaroids his dick and tapes his face to a blow-up sex doll for some hot, throbbing, inflatable self-regard. While his infatuation with himself grows, however, his loathing of the rest of humanity only deepens—and his incessant narration, a kind of Wile E. Coyote annoyance in the early scenes, spirals into something like a serial killer's journal entries. It's impossible to tell where the character's misanthropy ends and the movie's begins: With Johnny's sexual pathology smearing a hate filter over every frame, Balderson's film (adapted with author Joseph Suglia from his novel) is ugly, garish and repulsive in the extreme, and the grotesque overacting forces us to share Johnny's distaste for his fellow man. (This would make a good companion piece to Catherine Breillat's similarly all-but-unwatchable Anatomy of Hell.) But you can't fault the movie for punking out on its bleak nihilism—an early shout-out to Fight Club proves to be a warning worth heeding.
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