In this mockumentary, a heartbroken filmmaker decides to track down his musical heroes, Kill the Puppy, to shoot a “where are they now?” documentary. Kill the Puppy was a late ‘90s male/female pop duo that was like a cross between Roxette and Throbbing Gristle. The duo, who were also a couple, enjoyed brief success on the billboard charts (at #98) before disappearing forever into pop obscurity. Several years later, the filmmaker and rabid fan finds his heroes in dire straits – the beaten down by life punk rock hippie (if that’s at all possible) Anneka spends her time writing greeting jingles while uber-loser Clay is homeless, living out of his car, looking like an emaciated Grizzly Adams. The filmmaker is not impressed, but since they were the ones that got him through his heartbreak with their music, he makes it his mission to get them back on track again. And get them back on track again he does…kinda. He engineers a reunion between the two, awkward as it is, especially when Clay discovers Anneka’s been raising their child he didn’t even know about for the past six years.
Their reluctant need for each other, mixed with their parental duties find them reforming musically as “Sunny and Share,” but this time performing graphic safety awareness songs about such topics as child molestation to a group of children in their classroom. Their efforts are met with a sort of success as the children take to these brutally frank songs, but at the same time Anneka and Clay are still battling the gravity of life as it continues to pull them further into the downward spiral they had already begun. It’s a monumental trainwreck. If you love to laugh at others’ misfortunes, then you’ll find much glee in “Sunny and Share Love You.”
The humor found here is often dark and brutal and that’s wonderful for people with a bent sense of humor. But one of the major keys to this film’s success is the music. Being that this is a mockumentary about “musicians,” you’re going to wind up having to sit through quite a bit of their musical stylings. What works here is that, while the songs are supposed to be ridiculously shitty, they’re still listenable without making you want to reach for the nearest sharp object to cut your own throat with. I couldn’t even tell you the number of musical mockumentaries I’ve seen where the filmmakers achieved their goal a little too well by having their discordant buffoons churn out tunes that aren’t even funny as a joke, in fact they’re downright rage fueling. So I’m very appreciative that the songs found here didn’t make me leave the theater with murder in my heart. They’re bad, but you can handle them.
Another key here is the cast, most notably Michelle Mulroney as Anneka and Micah Schraft as Clay. They pull off these awfully down and out characters so well that you feel the need to bathe midway into the film. They bring these miserable characters to life perfectly and with so much humor that awards are deserved. I have some problems with this film, but what kept it from crumbling at its lowpoints are the performances from these two actors. F*****g stellar.
So, now the problems. The film lacks a strong focus. The story is there with these two loser wash-ups and star crossed lovers suddenly finding themselves becoming rockstars to grade school children. That’s a solid set-up, but the film tends to meander quite a bit, drifting off into the depravities of Anneka and Clay, which wound up feeling too much. For example, from out of nowhere, Anneka is shown as being a pornstar and there’s a chunk of the film dedicated to that, which I felt really had no bearing on the rest of the piece. I can understand how she probably could turn to porn, but the way it’s introduced here and then suddenly dropped like it was some half-assed inserted scene for the sake of length doeesn’t seem right. And speaking of length, the movie definitely could use trimming in other areas, especially towards the end as this is one of those films that refuses to end. You feel like Peter Jackson is sitting next to you massaging your tub of popcorn.
In short, when it’s strong, “Sunny and Share Love You” is a powerhouse, but on the flipside it’s weighed down by needless filler and lack of focus. It’s an amusing film, but it doesn’t go the distance it has the potential to.