Ass Backwards (2013)

CHRIS NELSON

Bil’s rating (out of 5): B

USA, 2013. , , , , , . Screenplay by , . Cinematography by . Produced by , . Music by , . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Best friends Kate () and Chloe () met at a pageant when they were children, bombing out of the competition thanks to their both having very few of the skills required to take the crown. Years later as adults they’re having a great time being immature, Kate makes money selling her eggs to infertile couples and Chloe is a go-go dancer in a glass box at a nightclub. The eviction notice pasted to their door for missed rent payments comes at the perfect time, as they have just been invited to a special anniversary event that is reuniting all their former pageant competitors for another beauty contest, with childhood rival , who is now a successful author, presiding as celebrity judge.

The girls jump into their van and hit the road but have some major detours on the way to their destination, first because they put the wrong address into their GPS device and almost drive to Canada before turning around, then they have to stop for a visit to Chloe’s dad () because they have no money, and their car breaks down and they are helped out by an all-female commune of very tough lesbians (who all carry whistles because all men are rapists). They stop at a topless bar for “amateur night” to make some extra cash and spend a night in jail with a reality television superstar drug addict, with whom they go on a meth bender, all while wholly miscalculating the tone of humour throughout this entire, unbearably boring rip-off of better comedies that have come before it.

The characters in films like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and Legally Blonde aren’t stupid, that’s how the people around them feel about them, what they are is very narrow in their interests and pursuits while possessing undervalued good sense and decency; here, the characters are clowns that the actresses, who also wrote the script, are clearly too smart for in roles that they very much look down on. Likely the intention was to show two characters who have as outdated an institution as the world of beauty pageants to aspire to succeeding at breaking free of it, which they do in a very welcome fit of outrageous violence, but for some reason they do no harm to their target and only make themselves look bad (the fact that the recreation of the pageant world isn’t the least bit convincing probably has a lot to do with this).

It doesn’t help that everything in this movie is photographed badly and looks cheap, the jokes are all too easy to see coming to ever be funny (and very often, and very surprisingly, make women their target), and the characters are wholly disingenuous; Kate and Chloe may decide to act out in the spirit of revenge in the end, but they never actually gain any wisdom and, after an hour and a half of their dimwittedness not being the least bit appealing, it ends up being a film that lowers us all.

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