The Daily Gamecock

'Swiss Army Man' wears its weirdness with pride

<p>For a movie that's premise is based on a farting corpse, "Swiss Army Man" is a very smart film, although it may not be for everyone.</p>
For a movie that's premise is based on a farting corpse, "Swiss Army Man" is a very smart film, although it may not be for everyone.

Release Date: July 1

Production Company: Blackbird Films

Duration: 97 minutes

Grade: A

Saying that “Swiss Army Man” is a film that doesn’t shy away from how weird it is would be a massive understatement. A more accurate statement would be that “Swiss Army Man” runs over typical movie conventions with a diesel truck. Completely bizarre, confusing and hilarious, “Swiss Army Man” is everything that a film about a farting corpse should be.

“Swiss Army Man” follows Hank, a man who, at the beginning of the film, is stranded on a deserted island and is preparing to hang himself. Before he goes through with it, however, he spots a dead man that washed up on shore. Hank soon learns that this corpse has special powers, not the least of which is his ability to talk and to propel himself through his farts.

Hank, played by Paul Dano, with the help of Manny, played by Daniel Radcliffe, and his many outlandish abilities goes on a quest to make it back home. Throughout their adventure, the duo’s conversations and predicaments grow more and more ridiculous and more and more entertaining.

“Swiss Army Man” appears to be going after some low-hanging fruit by centering its premise on a fart gag, but the movie is actually surprisingly smart. The dialogue between Hank and Manny is well written and is about as deep as it is funny. The moments where Hank is trying to explain to Manny what it’s like to be a living person in society are the funniest moments of the film, not the fart gags.

That’s not to say that the fart gags aren’t funny. Directors Daniel Scheinert and Dan Kwan managed to use Manny’s farts and other bizarre abilities his body holds in clever and increasingly ridiculous ways that had everyone in the theater bursting out in laughter. Also, some of the stunts and visual jokes done in the film were impressive considering the film’s low budget. There were a few times that it felt like the film was holding back due to budget restrictions, but, for the most part, the film’s effects, set design and stunts were surprisingly well-made.

Another area where “Swiss Army Man” thrived was in music. The a capella-style songs scattered throughout the movie are timed perfectly, and often the lyrics connect with what was going on in hilarious ways. When going to see a movie about a man who uses a talking, farting corpse to help return home, I never expected the music to be one of the strongest parts or for me to be saying, “I want the soundtrack,” upon leaving the theater. I also didn’t exactly expect to be impressed by much at all from a movie with this type of premise, but that shows how much of an impact top-notch directing and design can bring to a film.

The actual story of “Swiss Army Man” is going to be a divisive issue among moviegoers. Those who generally only like serious stories in film will likely be put off by how goofy “Swiss Army Man” is, and even those who are open to the film’s crazy story might be disappointed if they want it to completely make sense. The story is bizarre, and some of the turns that it takes are mind-boggling, but some viewers, like myself, view this as another layer of the film’s humor. “Swiss Army Man” takes pride in how weird and nonsensical it is, and if you are open to this, its twists and turns will likely make you laugh harder than you’ve laughed at a movie in quite a while.

It’s definitely a strange step for Radcliffe following his success as Harry Potter, but to those who are willing to embrace the weird side of film, “Swiss Army Man” might be his best film yet. I can say with complete certainty that “Swiss Army Man” is the best film about a farting corpse I’ve ever seen and one of the best comedies I have seen in quite a while.


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