If Walter the Pig Man called to sell you printer ink, would you buy it? “I’m half man and half pig, and I have your toner”. If your answer is “yes”, Scumbag! is a film for you. Mars Roberge offers an intimate portrait of an office known for such persuasive cold-call openers as “Snort! Snort! Snort!” and “there’s a bomb under your desk.” It’s the kind of company that holds a meeting to address the amount of boogers flicked onto the elevator wall. Ron Jeremy is a temp, KMFDM’s En Esch plays himself, and “I’ve got a boner to sell toner” is the company slogan. This is “Rocktopia” where “the only freedom of escape is to rock out”, and Roberg rocks it all the way off the rocking chair.
“It’s The Office unhinged, mixed with Mulholland Drive, mixed with Spinal Tap, plus some inexplicable surveillance footage.”
At its heart, Scumbag! is a bunch of comedians sitting around an office lewdly wise-cracking at each other’s expense. “If your parents got divorced would they still be brother and sister?” It’s The Office unhinged, mixed with Mulholland Drive, mixed with Spinal Tap, plus some inexplicable surveillance footage. Ugly blown-out backgrounds and erratic sound recording (several actors are also credited in the sound department) give you the sense that producing the film was more about having a good time than aiming for an Oscar.
In fact, the production breathes through its mediocrity. Without regard for visual continuity, Scumbag! functions as a messy collage of wacko caricatures: the hardcore guy that calls the cops on himself, the rapey alpha male token sexual harasser, Elmo the glue-huffing weirdo who runs Crazy Slav’s Goaltending Emporium. The only sane person in the office seems to be our protagonist, Phil, but even Phil ends up addicted to crack and robbed by prostitutes.
“…the production breathes through its mediocrity.”
If you couldn’t already tell, it’s not a movie for the masses. But if you get off on snarky punk lollygagging, you’re in for a treat. Jollification abounds in this freak show nightmare train wreck. And still, the director manages to impart a meaningful message in the end: “If anyone ever offers you a job as a telemarketer, shoot him in the face.”
Scumbag! (2017) Directed by Mars Roberge. Written by Mars Roberge. Starring Princess Frank, Debra Haden, Nick Zedd, Michael Alig, Tom Silverman, Keith Morris, Monique Parent, Spookey Ruben, Ryan Beard, Penny Arcade, Angelo Moore, Kid Congo Powers, and many more…
7 out of 10 Oscars