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Vulgar (2000) – DVD Review

vulgar dvd cover


Written by: Bryan Johnson
Directed by: Bryan Johnson
Starring: Brian O’Halloran, Bryan Johnson, Jerry Lewkowitz, Ethan Suplee, Matthew Maher, Jay Petrick


  1. Running audio commentary with writer/director Johnson, actor O’Halloran, executive producers Scott Mosier & Kevin Smith, and producer Monica Hampton
  2. Deleted Scenes
  3. Theatrical Trailer
  4. Photo gallery
  5. Documentary: Judge Not…In Defense of DOGMA

Released by: Lions Gate
Region: 1
Rating: NR
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Don’t bother.

[ad#longpost]Will Carlson (O’Halloran) is living proof that nice guys finish last. All he wants is to entertain children as Flappy the Clown. Since being a party clown doesn’t pay well, he lives in a crappy apartment and drives a crappy car. He gets nothing from grief from the bums outside his place, his hateful bitch of a mother, and his best friend Syd (Johnson). In a bid to make more money, Will decides to try being a “clown stripper” to provide some laughs at bachelor parties. The joke being instead of a regular stripper, you get this male clown stripper and the attendants get a good laugh at the expense of the man of honor. His first job is nothing to laugh at when he is brutally beaten and raped by a sadistic father (Lewkowitz) and his two moronic sons (Suplee, Maher). Because of the shame and disgust one would normally feel and being dressed as a stripper clown to boot, Will is reluctant to go to the police. While he’s limping along, he happens to save a little girl from being held hostage by her gun-toting, soon-to-be divorced father. Now he’s a media darling with his own successful kids’ show, but a disturbing phone call starts events that can only end in tragedy.

Being an independent movie doesn’t mean it’s automatically any good. This is certainly true of Vulgar. It tries to be funny, serious, shocking, and comment on modern society–all without a strong script to bind it all together. It ends up all over the place without any rhyme or reason. There’s either no character development or development that makes no sense. It feels like the whole film was built around the perverted idea of a clown in high heels and panties getting raped. O’Halloran is capable with the lighter moments, but doesn’t have the depth or talent to handle the aftermath of the attack or plotting murder. Lewkowitz plays the psycho father from Hell to the hilt, chewing scenery with abandon, but the hick language the family speaks is too artificial, too calculated. And Johnson has the same problem with direction that many cite Smith with: static camerawork that dulls down the energy of the film. I think Johnson owes Smith a serious favor for getting this thing made.

vulgar flappy syd

For special features you get some useless deleted scenes and an anemic still gallery. There is a production commentary with Johnson, O’Halloran, auteur Kevin Smith and producers Monica Hampton and Scott Mosier. I really didn’t get much out of the commentary besides that many of the locations they filmed at are no longer there and that Kevin Smith really liked this movie. Frankly, I think it’s the contact high he gets from hanging around Jason Mewes. The problem with this group commentary is that the group seems to quietly descend en masse to the level of five year olds.

One feature that needs explanation is a featurette on the controversy involving Kevin Smith’s Dogma. You might well ask, why is it on the disc for this film? Well, Lions Gate handled the theatrical release for Dogma but Miramax handled the DVD release. So Lions Gate had this featurette just sitting there so they put it on this release. It’s actually interesting, making the case that people took this movie and the Bible way too seriously or just used the controversy to promote themselves. It’s just odd having on this DVD. It makes more sense to rent Dogma instead of watching this god-awful mess of a movie.

vulgar clown gun

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