By Daniel Wible | April 4, 2003

“Pennyman” is an oddly amusing little film from writer/director/producer Robert Welkner. Mr. Welkner also stars as the titular hero, no… not a superhero, but a slovenly dressed, out of shape “everyman”, who just so happens to have pennies randomly attached to his skin. Why does he have pennies stuck on his skin? Your guess is as good as mine. The wackiness that is “Pennyman” begins when our hero arrives at a Native American reservation and is chosen, over three other much better-looking and more polished bachelors, to marry the Chief’s youngest daughter, Moonglow. It seems that whatever the reason for the pennies may be, they do at least gain him the Native American vote. So Pennyman is chosen to marry Moonglow, but first he must undergo a series of tests to prove he is worthy. What happens if he fails, Pennyman inquires. Well, he is turned into a mindless fool, much like the unfortunate “Dances With Himself” (in whose case, a mindless dancing fool). The various trials Pennyman must endure range from the facile (jump-roping) to the slightly more difficult (catching thrown knives, wrestling a gorilla, etc.). But perhaps the greatest trial of all however, comes in the form of the P-Man’s raging (recently ex) girlfriend, a veritable ‘Queen Kong’. Suddenly the (real) gorilla doesn’t seem nearly as tough!
The cast of this farce is uniformly hilarious, with maybe the exception of Mr. Welkner himself, whose comedy chops are forced at best. Yet what Welkner may lack in comedic acting, he more than makes up for in wit and sheer… ridiculousness. He infuses his short film with such a willful stupidity that it somehow works. “Pennyman” shamelessly plays like the lost spin-off episode of “Son of the Beach”, which happens to be one of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures of the past few years. (Talk about shameless.) I can’t help it, sometimes stupid really is funny. In the end though, I yearn to ponder the point of these trifling seven minutes of celluloid.
On second thought, I think I’d rather spend the time watching it again…

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