What a perfect day for a B-movie matinee. I got my hands on a copy of Slimed from one of the directors and I am willing to comment on any movie with an atheist character, no matter what the results might be. Especially when they openly promote the film as featuring an “Atheist Park Ranger.” After all, this is Freethunk–we’re obsessed with atheist characters in films.
Be forewarned that this is B-movie absurdity at its highest, thus my rating of 3 stars–for absurdity. Movies like this are destined to fail–UNLESS! They have good character actors, and by no-god, Slimed did their casting right. This is literally an hour long, live-action cartoon because the characterization is zany, silly and revels in nonsense. Hearken back to early Monty Python and you might get an idea of what I’m talking about. This style of humor may either annoy you or twist your funny bone until it snaps. Fortunately, for the producers of Slimed, I love this kind of nutty lunacy–it may also have to do with tweaking the noses of highbrow, freethinking intellectuals (not that I’m anti-intellectual, but even a stodgy philosopher should come down off his pedestal and watch a Three Stooges short occasionally).
Speaking of Three Stooges, in Slimed we are immediately introduced to Rock Rockerson played by Jordan Lee; forest ranger and hardened atheist, he is the Moe of atheists, ready to slap, smack or threaten with an oversized revolver in order to make his point. You guessed it, not a role model for atheists but rather a parody. I know this upsets atheists looking for dignity in TV and film, however, it has to be recognized that among the “herd of cats” there are atheists you just want kick up the ass. So full of themselves, antagonistic, think everyone is stupid but them and can’t take a joke. In addition to parodying Christians, who have taken cheap shots left and right, atheists need to be poked fun of for the sake of showing that we have a sense of humor about ourselves. I was absolutely pleased when South Park did it and I have no problems with a B-movie depiction where everyone and everything is a gag. Slimed is vaudeville with special effects.
Which brings us to the Bible salesman representing Christianity named PePe but pronounced “Pee Pee” by our atheist hero. For Christians afraid that this film takes unfair advantage of Bible thumper stereotypes I would have to say the atheist character is far more lambasted than PePe. Played by Dustin Triplett, he is the Laurel of Laurel & Hardy, who talks and–ugh–sings to a cat.
I was also impressed with Jessica Borusky’s performance as Sally, don’t want to leave her out. She had better expressions than Chrissy’s dumb looks on Three’s Company from the seventies. When you write a script that is essentially Looney Tunes without animators you have to match it with the facial expressions. These actors went all out. Holding back or being shy about jumping into the character is what kills B-movies and reminds you that you’re looking at someone’s idea of a movie rather than the movie itself. You could take both Jordan Lee and Dustin Triplett and cast them as cartoon voices for any show on Cartoon Network.
What’s the plot? Who cares! Every moment is positioned to give the directors a chance to play with dialogue, scenery and weird sight gags. The basic premise, if I must reduce it to that, is that someone is dumping a slime called “Cleano” in Rock Rockerson’s park. He only discovers it after being threatened by the IRS and is looking to make some quick cash. As Christians always have schemes to create wealth, either by praying or tricking gullible people, PePe proposes building an attraction out on the nature preserve to suck in more patronage. Of course PePe is hidng his real plans for the park. Even more insidious, though, is whoever is behind the creation of the Cleano slime.
It was fortunate that I did get a DVD copy because, for a low budget, the special effects worked nicely on my flat, widescreen TV. Especially the exploding kids–don’t worry, it’s done in such a way that you’re going to laugh. Fact is, Slimed is appropriate for kids to watch. I may have to do a doublecheck on that, but I don’t remember any swearing or supposed vulgarity–just over the top violence and if your kids have watched Itch and Scratchy on The Simpsons it’s nothing worse than that. …Hmm, the more I think about it, the more this could be a family film (honestly, I’m not sure kids have to be protected from foul language anyways, but I know some freethinkers have concerns about it). I think kids would get a kick out of Slimed and if you’re worried about the character depiction of the atheist than it’s time to have a sitdown and explain what parody is.
An hour well spent. I may have to wash my brain out with a more lofty film, but like I said, sometimes you need to watch a Stooge short to lighten up and this certainly qualifies. If you want to get your hands on a copy you can visit the official site. Credit should also be given to directors Eric Manche and Jeff Nitzberg for coming up with this nonsense (they also make appearances in their film, who wouldn’t?).