The various helplines and city watches that exist throughout New York City aren’t enough to help curb the inappropriate and unlawful behavior that occurs daily throughout its five boroughs. As a result, a group of mechanics founded 1-800-BOBOTOUCH as a way for the citizens of NYC to reach out and get help. In director Brian Bonz and Mike Rizzo’s comedic short Bobo Touch Helpline – The Kisser, the action takes place in Brooklyn. Bartholomeu Withers (Brian Bonz) is the kisser. He kisses strangers on the subway and inserts cockroaches into their mouths. Now, the aforementioned mechanics must work together to bring this pervert to justice.
The average camerawork, subpar acting, and insane narrative all struggle to lend themselves to good cinema. However, the reality is that the film is so absurd that it actually becomes entertaining. Through offbeat charm and sheer bizarreness, the film will attract a very niche audience who will appreciate it. The last time I watched asked myself, “what the f**k am I watching?” was Michael Portnoy’s Progressive Touch, and while this isn’t quite that extreme or outlandish, I found myself repeatedly confused at what was transpiring. The fact that the film is so baffling actually kept me engaged, and I became intrigued by what might happen next. Thinking back to films like Birdemic: Shock and Horror and Zombeavers, it’s clear that Bobo Touch Helpline – The Kisser falls into the same realm as those oddities.
“…kisses strangers on the subway and inserts cockroaches into their mouths.”
Humor is subjective and often leaves at least some viewers turned off, and while much of the comedy is juvenile, there’s a touch of brilliance in bringing this vision to life with such commitment to its peculiar story. Plus, a lot can be said for the writing, considering it takes an entirely ridiculous idea and turns it into something ironically interesting. Bonz, who also wrote the short, constructs something so unbelievable yet impressively humorous that he manages to reel in viewers and keep them hooked until the end.
While the writing is what ultimately allows Bobo Touch Helpline – The Kisser to come to life and find any level of success, I am most impressed with the filmmakers’ ability to find compelling locations. The hustle and bustle of New York City seemingly never threw the directors off track or hindered their artistic vigor. The work done on moving subway trains and in a working garage helps, even in its oddest moments, ground the film in some kind of reality.
The acting falls off the rails from time to time, the story is, in layman’s terms, odd, and the comedy appeals only to a small group of viewers. However, the unique ability of Bonz, Rizzo, and the cast to turn out something somewhat relatable and funny is a feat that not everyone is capable of reaching. There is no guarantee that Bobo Touch Helpline – The Kisser will entertain you, but the cast and crew deserve some recognition for the valiant effort they put forth.
P.S.: For those of you who enjoy Impractical Jokers, there is a beautifully placed individual who makes a subtle but memorable appearance early on that is sure to warrant laughter.
"…will entertain you..."