Rat Pfink A Boo Boo
Rat Pfink A Boo Boo 1966
No, that’s not a typo in the title, the movie I’m talking about today really is called Rat Pfink A Boo Boo. Well, technically it very well could be a typo, but it’s one made by someone who worked on the film though the director claimed later on that it was intentional. Before I get to the actual movie, I do want to talk about the site where I watched this film. Which is appropriate as the film feels like about half filler anyway so you’re not missing out on much. Anyway, I found out about Fandor last year because they were promoting a meet and greet with director Jeremy Saulnier with his film Blue Ruin. While looking through their site, I also noticed that they had the Wild World of Batwoman streaming. The other day, I finally decided to watch that film and signed up for their 2 week free trial and tweeted, asking for suggestions on what films to watch during my trial. @Fandor actually responded the next day with a martial arts superhero film I hadn’t heard of that’s available at their site. I was just really impressed that they took that extra effort to check my profile and suggest an appropriate movie to me instead of just some random film. Then I noticed that they also had this film which I always assumed was going to be an obscure film that I would have to track down so I decided to go ahead and watch it. And even at just over an hour long, it felt nearly twice that, not to mention the jarring shifts in tone, both color and narratively.
One of the most notable things about this film is the abrubt tonal shift about halfway through the film. During the first half of the film, it alternates between following this group of three thugs who just seem to enjoy causing random havoc and this Elvis-like singer Lonnie Lord and his girlfriend Cee Bee. The cold open of the film shows the thugs stalking and robbing a random woman on the street, choking her nearly to death with a chain. They don’t really have much personality, instead they can be told apart because Hammer is always seen carrying a hammer, Linc always has a length of chain, and Bernie is always smiling this weird, creepy smile. They then decide to pick a random name in the phonebook to harass which also happens to be Lonnie Lord’s girlfriend. Then, about halfway through the film, they end up kidnapping her and ask for ransom. Lonnie and the gardener head into the closet and come out in ridiculous costumes and Lonnie puts on a cartoonish voice as the heroes Rat Pfink and Boo Boo.
Aside from the tonal shift, there’s also plenty of what feels like filler throughout this film. During the first half, there’s a moment where Linc stalks Cee Bee as she goes to get some groceries. It’s at least a five minute sequence where Cee Bee is completely oblivious to the thug “chasing” her as she walks at a normal pace the entire way. There’s one moment halfway in where she gasps and turns around, but he isn’t there. And when she finally does get her groceries, he just lets her go home before he turns around and leaves. It’s completely pointless. They even have Bernie show up at her door and tap on the screen for a while until she starts to call the police and he runs off. And at the very end of the film, there’s this random footage of a parade with Rat Pfink and Boo Boo stuck in there for some reason that makes absolutely no sense at all.
This really shares several similarities with the structure of Abar: The First Black Superman which also had a very boring first half and then went crazy silly at the end. Here the humor is more overt from the very beginning as Rat Pfink and Boo Boo get stuck in the closet after they change and Rat Pfink has the line “Remember, we only have one weakness. Bullets.” Not to mention that their costumes themselves look like something that Blankman made with safety scissors. Rat Pfink basically just has a ski mask and cape while Boo Boo has the more elaborate-yet-ridiculous costume complete with blinking lights on the dangley parts of his hat. And as if the filmmaker didn’t think that having them defeat the three thugs was a big enough climax, he tosses in a new character with an empty chain leash who is looking for his pet. And the pet turns out to be a gorilla and we get to see Cee Bee get kidnapped once again, this time by the gorilla. There’s also a few other gags that work with varying degrees of success, as the heroes rush off to save Cee Bee, the camera makes it look like Rat Pfink is flying before cutting to a wide shot that shows him standing in the sidecar of a motorcycle holding a flying pose. A pose that he continues to use in different variations during an extended chase scene, complete with a moment where they ride over a puddle and he covers himself with his cape so not to get wet.
Another odd aspect of the film is the change in color tint. The film was shot in monochrome, but was tinted in post production, initially it looked like this was done for the night scenes, as they were all tinted a dark blue while the day scenes were more of a sepia tone. But as soon as Rat Pfink and Boo Boo come out in their costumes, the entire rest of the film is tinted pink. It almost acts as a visual cue for the tonal shifts, but there were also several moments of what was intended to be real tension during the sepia tinted moments. But it still felt like three different movies smashed together into a single seventy minute run time. A crime drama, a beach party musical romantic comedy, and a superhero parody film. The parody elements were the most fun just for how completely over the top they were, but everything just went on for way too long with too little payoff. There’s just not enough here for a full movie. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.