There are bad movies, worse movies, and “Whipped.” You know that you’re stuck in the cinematic dog days of late summer when a miserable mongrel of a movie like this one hits the screen. A purported romantic comedy about three horny NYC buddies who bed the same girl while their married friend watches and stews, Peter M. Cohen’s wretched first feature is nothing more than sniggering, witless smut, so vile that if it were a TV sitcom pilot, even the UPN would reject it, so terrible that it could make one yearn for a “Shasta McNasty” retrospective. Indeed, Cohen proves a triple threat: his script is appalling, to be sure, but he’s also directed his cast to be as frantic and unappealing as possible, and the production values are so low that some of the interiors look like they’ve been shot inside a trailer; Ed Wood lives again! (And all this from a USC Film School graduate!)
Permit just one specific bit of evidence. In a scene about halfway through this mess, one of our “heroes,” Jonathan (Jonathan Abrahams), visits the girl’s bathroom. After urinating loudly and profusely–is there any other scene we need to see less in another movie?–the dolt investigates the medicine cabinet, locating a battery-operated silver dildo. He proceeds to turn it on and stroke himself with it, dancing to the music of Boy George’s “Karma Chameleon” (not the only instance of a bad musical choice–elsewhere we’re regaled by David Cassidy’s “I Think I Love You”). The instrument then flies from his grip into–you guessed it–the toilet bowl (unflushed, needless to say), into which he then thrusts his arm up to the shoulder in a vain attempt to retrieve it.
But enough. Suffice it to say this revolting sequence is only one of many in Cohen’s putrid flick. But we not only have to watch the disgusting action and listen to the idiotic conversations of the quartet of male losers as they join one another at their favorite diner (apologies to Barry Levinson), but the main characters all also address the audience directly, presenting their vulgar views of life in a way calculated to make them even more detestable than they already are. A closing twist which infringes on Neil LaBute territory renders the whole cesspool even more rank.
As should be obvious, the screenplay stinks, but it’s also dismally performed. The acting of the four guys–Brian Van Holt, Abrahams, Zorie Barber and Judah Domke–is several steps below the standards one would expect to be met in community theatre, and Amanda Peet’s snarly, affected turn makes one suspect that her success in “The Whole Nine Yards” was a complete fluke.
“Whipped” is divided into segments identified by the passage of time, starting from our first introduction to the guys. It’s in this connection that one finds the only glimmer of truth in the flick: the final caption reads “Sunday, Week Seven: The Bomb,” as honest a description of the picture as one could want. But although it seems to drag on for an eternity, “Whipped” actually has an astonishingly short running-time, barely eighty minutes. In this instance, however, brevity represents not the soul of wit but its utter absence.
It’s noteworthy, by the way, that the culpable party has a fleeting cameo in “Whipped” as the pizza delivery man. This Hitchcockian touch shows that however inept Cohen might be as a writer-director, he’s certainly brave: anyone unfortunate enough to have seen his movie could now conceivably recognize him on the street and stone him forthwith. As to the grade given here: sorry, folks, but “F” is as low as we go.