Metro Weekly

Watch Out

Reel Affirmations 2008

Review by Sean Bugg

Rating: starstar (2 out of 5)
Friday, 10/17/2008, 11:15 PM
Feature presentation, $10 at Lincoln Theatre

WATCH OUT IS TO the film festival genre what Sci Fi Network original movies like Snakehead Terror are to the sci-fi genre. Namely, a collection of tropes and clichés that satisfy the requirements of the genre and nothing else. Hence Watch Out‘s relentless barrage of the supposedly outrageous and offensive, from grotesque caricatures to bizarre sex acts to the force-feeding of the results of a castration.

Nominally, Watch Out is the solipsistic story of Jonathan Barrows (Matt Riddlehoover), a young man deeply, madly and passionately in love with himself and in hate with the world. Disgusted by both the women and men who pursue him, Barrows instead takes his pleasure by masturbating into mirrors and having sex with an inflatable dummy enhanced with a photo of his own face.

It’s so very, very transgressive.

The story, such as it is, plays out through Barrows’ unrelenting narration, what seems to be a world record in voice-over yakking that leaves you longing for a minute of quiet. Then that minute (and more) comes in a no-dialogue scene that plays like a deleted joke from Family Guy and you realize that, talking or not, it’s just annoying.

You can’t fault Riddlehoover, who’s presumably just acting the part he was given. He actually turns in a pretty strong performance — not easy when the role requires explicit self-love, a graphic cum shot in a restaurant bathroom, and dancing around nude in public (director Steve Balderson apparently shot much of the film without such niceties as permits).

You can fault a script and director that tosses everything it can on screen in a flurry of provocation that aches to be noticed, but ends up with the feeling that it’s all been done before.

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Shelf Wood
Watch Out
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Sean Bugg is Editor Emeritus for Metro Weekly.

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