Hilariously offensive, just like grampa.
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It’s no secret that old people have frontal lobe issues. As they get older their ability to censor what comes out of their mouths deteriorates which causes discomfort, sometimes outrage, but mostly hilarity. Writer/director Tim Sullivan (Chillerama) captures all of that in a balancing act that is pretty impressive.
A group of cannon fodder take a detour on their way to Florida for Spring break and end up in a quaint little town called Pleasant Valley. The townsfolk are quite welcoming, especially Mayor Buckman (the great Robert Englund!) who immediately proclaims the Yankees their honored guests. Is their Southern hospitality too good to be true?
While we have such great talents as Mr. Englund and the fabulous (and extremely underrated) Lin Shaye as the town’s matriarch Granny Boone, the rest of the main cast leaves a tad bit to be desired. Englund and Shaye relish their roles and perform with a glee that is infectious. Considering this is a gorerrific comedy at its heart, one can’t complain too much if some of the acting is a bit…lacking. They all perform well enough with Jay Gillespie as Anderson Lee turning up the notch to ham-central in a way that enhances his character. (Besides, we’re not here for the acting, right?)
While the gore is fantastic with pretty original kills the star of the show is really the rampant racism that populates the entire film. Hold on, don’t get carried away yet. Let me assure you that this is no way glorifies racism. In fact by being just that offensive it puts a spotlight on it in a way that underscores the stupidity and shock when it happens. No one is safe because even the racist Southerners are caricatures of a stereotype and the Yankees say some pretty nasty stuff too. It really is like hanging out with your almost senile grandfather (especially if he’s from the South!), you can’t believe what the hell your ears are hearing but you can’t stop listening. You’re kind of on the edge a bit wondering where they’ll stop. Where does it end? Will the black guy with a watermelon be the line? Will the cousins making out be the best they can come up with? Oh yes, just like watching an episode of Jerry Springer (back in the good old days before they stopped pretending it was all staged) you just can’t look away.
Tim Sullivan seems to be almost like Adam Green‘s kid brother – sure talent runs in the family but he’s still trying to catch up with the cooler version of himself. While the film itself is solid, he tends to overuse puns to almost eye-rolling capacity. Like the class clown, he knows what’s funny and on a good day he’s hilarious. On a bad day he overdoes it and gets sent to the principal’s office. Lucky for us he was having a hell of a day when he made this so instead of the principal’s office we’ll ask him out for Homecoming. (Not prom though, I’m saving that for Adam Green.)