Comedies within the world of independent film are usually hit or miss. Although I find myself defending them on occasion, not even I can deny this fact. While I have encountered several laugh-out-loud funny features, I have unfortunately suffered through many more that have been less successful. When it comes to any comedy, filmmakers already have a fairly massive hurdle to leap over with this one genre. When people say that comedies are the most subjective type of movies around, they say this with good reason. Not every person will laugh at the same things, so there is no clear-cut right or wrong within this genre. Even when a person watches a movie that they would normally find hilarious, if they are in a bad mood it can easily ruin the entire experience. Often, independent comedies rely less on well-honed scripts, or comedic banter that has been refined through hours and hours of rehearsal, and instead work off of improvisation and the instincts of the performers. It is an economical concept that often does not lend itself to brilliant cinema. Captain Slickpants is a title that appears to suffer from many of these problems, but still retains a certain level of charm that may endure itself to some audience members.
Captain Slickpants focuses on the tale of a loser named Greg (Ben Dietels). Greg is about as awkward as they come, and he has recently developed a crush on a young woman named Vanessa who works at a restaurant that he often visits. His nerditude completely limits his ability to ever actually speak to this girl, and when he is finally encouraged by his best friend to actually ask her out, he flunks yet again. When she drops her wallet outside of the restaurant, Greg grabs it and feels that this will somehow give him an advantage in pursuing the young woman. Yet, before he knows what is going on, someone steals the wallet and Greg must set out in search of the dastardly fellow. Now he ends up in a chase that will take him on the adventure of a lifetime.
With a name like "Captain Slickpants," which ultimately tells you very little about the movie, and with a photo as bizarre as the one that adorns the cover art for this DVD, I wasn’t expecting much. After a few minutes, I had my expectations both verified and shattered at the same time. The introduction for the movie is actually quite interesting. A mix of aesthetic qualities that seem at odds with one another, you do not initially know what to expect from Captain Slickpants. The first few minutes exemplify this strange brew that defines the movie. Featuring a punk-ish soundtrack that beats over key scenes, this aggressive and stylish music hardly seems to describe the sort of movie that we will be watching, and some of the photography sticks out as being very impressive. Yet, at the same time, we quickly see shots of our leading man lighting Roman candles while feigning masturbation. The movie presents itself as a mixed bag right from the start, and that really seems to be describe the entire movie.
The movie almost seems as if it wants to deliver something similar to what Napoleon Dynamite brought to the table, but the episodic and improvised nature of the movie makes it seem far less polished. Whereas Napoleon Dynamite was a comedy that came across as focused and witty, despite its inept lead characters, Captain Slickpants is instead a movie that provides free reign to its psychotic lead characters. There are flashes of comedic wit during the course of the movie, I can’t deny the moments that do indeed seem to work. There are a few lines that point out the sheer absurdity of the mission that our lead characters embark upon, and occasionally the actors seem to tip their hat to the audience and let them in on the joke. When the movie dips into the absurd, I find that it is at its strongest. The “Karate Talkshow” segments that pop up occasionally are perfect examples. A talkshow that is apparently quite popular within the world of Captain Slickpants, Karate Talkshow pops up in the household of nearly every character in the movie. The show has the appearance of a really cheap public-access TV program, and the premise focuses on several karate sensei’s being interviewed. These McDojo Masters apparently know nothing about martial arts, and these little detours in Captain Slickpants stand out as some of the most absurd and bizarre within the movie. However, I welcomed every one of these little minor tangents.
Featuring a twist ending and an absurd title, Captain Slickpants does indeed have its shining moments. However, it is a title that is hard to recommend for every audience. Overall, I enjoyed the experience for the most part and I think others will as well. The film will simply have to find its own audience, and the filmmakers will inevitably find their own voice. If you want to read more about the movie, you can visit the official website at: http://bpofilms.virb.com