3,2,1... Frankie Go Boom
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 3,2,1... Frankie Go Boom is a crass, sex-themed comedy about the dysfunctional relationship between a man and his older brother, who enjoys filming his sibling's most humiliating moments and is now trying to make a career out of selling them. The latest "masterpiece" involves a sexual encounter in which the younger brother has trouble performing. There are also plenty of graphic sexual references, a scene that shows a woman's breasts (and other scenes with characters in various stages of undress), and a "sex" scene that doesn't have any actual sex or nudity but is still quasi-graphic. Expect plenty of swearing ("f--k," "s--t," and more) and scenes in which characters drink wine with meals and smoke pot.
What's the story?
"Your family is poison," reads the hand-lettered sign on Frankie's (Charlie Hunnam) desk, a reminder of his childhood, when his older brother, Bruce (Chris O'Dowd), would plot elaborate practical jokes and then capture Frankie's humiliation on film. As an adult, little has changed, except now Bruce is trying to jump-start a career as a movie director by selling new movies starring his unwilling brother. And, wow, does he have a good clip to sell -- a quasi-sex tape with no sex involving a very willing girl (Lizzy Caplan) who becomes increasingly frustrated when Frankie is unable to perform. To Bruce, it's comic genius -- but to his younger brother, it's yet another painful reminder of why he's trying to escape this toxic environment. But now Frankie has to team up with Bruce to retrieve the recording before it gets posted on the Internet, where millions of viewers will see his most embarrassing moments.
Is it any good?
It's doesn't all come together as a coherent film. The dysfunctional relationship between Frankie and Bruce drives the action in 3,2,1... FRANKIE GO BOOM, as one brother seems completely oblivious to the fact that his selfish behavior is completely exploiting a family member he claims to love. O'Dowd is a charming narcissist, but that doesn't make him a good guy. And Hunnam is entertaining as the increasingly put-upon sibling who just wants to regain control of his life and ditch Bruce and his shenanigans.
The ingredients are there, but the dish is, as they say, a bit overcooked, especially Bruce's increasingly zany plans to retrieve the errant non-sex tape. Let's just say that stabbing an old blind man with a kitchen knife isn't even close to his worst suggestion. The cast is game for everything, but the story is just packed with too much wackiness for any single element to stand out. Title notwithstanding, it fizzles.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the ethics of today's digital video age. Why isn't it OK to film other people and post the videos -- embarrassing or otherwise -- online? How would you feel if someone did that to you?
Do Frankie and Bruce seem like real siblings? How do movies and TV shows tend to portray adult siblings? Why?
Who do you think this movie's target audience is? Why do you say that? What do you think the take-away is intended to be?