Superhero Party Clown
Superhero Party Clown 2010
I’m back trying to watch my way through the superhero and comic book movies I have left to watch from 2010. I decided to go with one of the smaller releases which was this little independent film from writer/director Jeremy Inman who I didn’t realize until later also wrote and directed one of my least favorite films from last year Avengers Grimm. Of course, I don’t exactly hold that one against him since I get the impression that the Asylum puts pressure on the talent to churn something out under schedule and under budget whenever possible. This has quite a few cliched characters and relationships, but there’s a lot of fun to be had with plenty of backstory mythology to the created superheroes for the film.
The story follows Eugene who is a comic book nerd who got a job at a costume shop and party store as a birthday performer. He dresses up as Arachnid-Man at kid’s birthday parties while his co-worker Garth generally still plays the party clown. And while Eugene is good at his job and enjoys it, he’s still embarrassed by it, especially when it comes to the girl that he’s had a crush on for ages, Emily. And for the most part, it falls into very cliched romantic comedy territory. Emily is sort-of dating the rich kid who is a complete and total douche that doesn’t seem to be interested in any of the same things that she is and only cares about her because she’s cute. And Eugene just so happens to get hired for Emily’s younger brother’s birthday party and hits it off with Emily while in costume, but still doesn’t want to admit to her that he’s actually the guy in the suit. So most of the film is spent with Eugene playing the duel identities where he pretends that party Arachnid-Man isn’t the same person as Eugene. There are some fun moments with this, but for the most part it gets tired pretty quickly.
What the film does do well is create an entire mythology for this fictional superhero Arachnid-Man that is obviously patterned after Spider-Man. Within the world of the movie, Arachnid-Man has a silver age costume that Eugene’s first costume is based on, a cheesy movie from the 70’s that has cult status, the creator is also a staple of comic book conventions and is named Steve Stanley which is an obvious play on Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. And they also get an updated version of the costume that’s based on the new movie coming out that’s a bit more streamlined even though it still looks like a fairly cheap Halloween version of the costume. Which is appropriate since they are a based out of a cheap Halloween costume shop. There is a bit of unbelievability just due to the fact that there are so many superhero-themed birthday parties that all seem to have the same dozen kids in them, including the one kid that’s a little bit too old to be there and seems to just be there to troll the guy in the costume.
The characters themselves are fairly standard tropes. Eugene is the standard nerd with a good heart. You want to root for him even as he displays some very stalker-esque moments in his efforts to hide his job from Emily. There’s one moment where he hides in a giant teddy bear costume while she talks with her douche boyfriend and he takes that to the edge of creepiness when she bends over and he leans forward so he can get a better view. Emily is generally a blank slate girl next door type who cares about her younger brother more than just about anything else and obviously has feelings for Eugene, knows he’s Arachnid-Man, but for whatever reason wants him to make the first move. And douchey boyfriend is the epitome of a douche. He’s a rich kid who gets a job alongside Eugene as a Superman analogue just because Emily mentioned that she thought Arachnid-Man was cute, and his parents are holding back his college fund unless he gets a job. He also holds back a thank you letter to Arachnid-Man from Emily for the party because he’s a jealous douche.
Where the fun starts creeping into the film comes in the latter half where plans start fitting together and we get to see a little bit more behind the characters than their cliches. Marcy, the owner of the costume shop gives off a little bit of a Carrie Fischer vibe as she offers advice to Eugene, both when he goes off the deep end fighting douche boyfriend during a party and later on when he decides that he wants to quit the job. There’s also a great bit of revenge that douche boyfriend pulls when he returns his costume and takes a little side-trip to Emily’s house dressed in Arachnid-Man’s costume. It does take a little while to get going, but in the end I really started caring about the characters, even Garth the clown. There are several nice moments of humor even if they are often a bit on the understated side. All in all, it was a pretty charming movie and worth a watch if you can find it anywhere. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.