GRAVYTRAIN (April Mullen). 83 minutes. Opens Friday (April 23). For venues, trailers and times, see Movies. Rating: N
It's really, really hard to make a cult movie on purpose. And even harder, apparently, to do it twice.
GravyTrain, the new project from the creators of Rock, Paper, Scissors: The Way Of The Tosser, fancies itself a frenzied comedy about a pair of small-town detectives played by director April Mullen and writer Tim Doiron. In the sleepy town of Gypsy Creek, a serial killer called Jimmy Fish-Eye has been murdering people for years - and dedicated cop Charles Gravytrain (Doiron) is out to bring Jimmy's reign of terror to an end.
Gravytrain's investigation is hindered by the arrival of a gung-ho new partner, Miss Uma Booma (Mullen), and complicated further when a sleazy filmmaker (Ryan Tilley) comes to town and casts the squabbling cops in a movie adaptation of their own story.
That set-up makes GravyTrain sound much, much funnier than it actually is - or at least slightly funny, which is still much, much funnier than it actually is.
Mullen and Doiron, Ryerson grads who previously collaborated on RPS, exhaust themselves running around making funny faces, and they've delivered a feature's worth of footage, but their movie's an empty husk of frantic mugging, pointless 1970s movie references and unearned self-regard. It's probably a lot funnier if you know the filmmakers personally.
And whoever decided to give all the characters names like Miss Uma Booma, Madame Harriette Handlescock (she's a madam, get it?) and Hansel Suppledick really needs to re-watch that Kids in the Hall sketch about Mr. Picklefeather.