In truth, the reason I'm reviewing it now is that Brett sent over these two Italian guys named Newman who are standing here on opposite sides of me with baseball bats poking me and saying "Type Fastah! TYPE FASTAH!" over and over again.
I'm typing, I'm typing... fuck!
Just dickin' around, Brett. The real reason I'm reviewing this web series is... it's funny as fuck.
From a technical level, Gut Rot only occasionally looks like an independent production, though the general foibles of lighting and sound do occasionally get in the way and only slightly. Each of the six ten-minute episodes is remarkably well edited and each one mixes the limited animation with the live action to hilarious results.
Does anybody really care all THAT much about all the technical crap? Not really, who notices that crap (but me) unless it's fucked up?
The point is that Gut Rot is funny as fuck. While their most recent feature film may be a bit more of a cohesive vision than Larry & Burt's Gut Rot, the very fact that we're talking about a series makes this one, by nature, "episodic"!
If anything, brothers Jason and Brett are even more natural in this bizarre six part tale than they've ever been in their acting. To be sure, their scripts are well-written, but neither of these guys really feel like they're "acting". Instead they seem like two real brothers in an all-too-true-to-life sequence of agonies, let-downs, mislaid plans and good (and bad) intentions gone awry! The dialogue feels like an updated, North-of-the-Border Clerks while managing to never come off as stolen or derivative.
Brett and Jason are, again, intelligently cast as... a couple of hapless Canadian brothers who alternately bicker and team up against this cruel world. Larry (Brett) is an angry, disaffected pizza delivery guy who hates his job, his customers and his co-workers, is desperately trying not to get his girlfriend pregnant and has conversations with his poetic animated feces. Yeah, I think it's a disgusting idea, too, but if you watch South Park as much as I do, neither of us have any place for bitching.
Larry seems like he just might be a loser... that is until we meet Burt (Jason), who can't get a job, is desperately trying not to stalk his ex-girlfriend's social networking profile, may have already gotten that girlfriend pregnant (judging from the look of her kid... on her social networking profile and has conversations with beautiful women who don't exist. And when he's not doing that he's relentlessly telephoning Larry and his girlfriend while they're having sex... or trying to! Compared to Burt, Larry is Captain Canada, disgruntled Superhero!
This, folks, is just the beginning of their "adventures". Yeah, these can be mundane, but that's half the point of the show. Brett channels the frustration we all get as working folks, especially those who have to deal with customers. He articulates his angst so perfectly and realistically that it's impossible to believe that this is made up. Jason's dejected voiceovers give us a look into the broken heart of a very lonely guy who is just cool enough to make his own heartache funny in a weird way. Yeah, these two guys may seem like two of your less successful best buddies who are always complaining about things... but the point is... they seem like two of your best buddies the whole time!!!
I should know. I just (re-)watched all ten episodes! Yeah, they're very funny but with the occasional reliance on shock value here and there... which doesn't always serve the otherwise flowing comedy style of these dudes. I think that generally The Notorious Butler Brothers have such a uniquely subtle sense of humor that occasionally when things get into the scatological the seams tend to show and it just interrupts the fun time. Just when you start to think that these guys have an inside track into your own dejected musings they show us a full bucket with a scrawled label in freezer tape that reads "my feces". Which is... much more gross than funny.
Don't get me wrong, I get it. The characters Brett and Jason are playing are the kind of guys who would think the thoughts they're portraying, from the sexual to the depressed to the angry to the potty-oriented. By that token, the Butlers are showing how complete their vision is from writing to directing to acting.
I admit to laughing out loud several times (often unexpectedly and in spite of myself) and wanting to see where this happened to be going. It's rare that I will say that an Internet Short is "too short", but I found myself wanting to see a "Boxed Set" to abbreviate my wait time between installments. It's great to be able to watch the show online in one sixty-minute sit-down and just enjoy the damned thing and it's also telling that even after the show (or, at least, its first season) has wound down to its final credit sequence, I still found myself wanting a bit more.
Don't get me wrong(er), I'm not saying "These guys are PERFECT! Case closed, done!" But I am saying that their works are showing me over and over again that with the right backing the Butler brains can put out something even more brilliant.
My favorite from their brains so far is still The Notorious Newman Brothers, however, that's after six episodes of a series that deserves a chance to give us many more... How many shows out there just keep getting better and when you go back and look at the early episodes you say "Damn, this is EVEN better now!"?
Larry & Burt's Gut Rot is one of them. I was interested (and laughing) after two episodes. After all six, I'm thinking back on the show and smiling, liking it more and hoping to see the next chapter in the lives of these fictional brothers... but not to live them.
As for the real Butler Brothers... stop in to Southern California some time... I'll buy you both a beer!
One of the funnier aspects to the show, which keeps the whole enchelada from going stale is the hilarity of the "commercial breaks". Gut Rot is "sponsored" by Upper Crust, the fictional Pizza Joint Larry (somewhat) works at and the TV Spots for the chain are as raunchy, profane, naughty and just plain WRONG as the series on the whole is.
And trust me, kids, it is. This show is dirty, smelly, filthy, and even gross, packed with foul language and frank descriptions (and depictions) of sexuality (though no nudity... which is both a curse and a blessing). To be fair, while I'm no fan of scatological humor, the brothers never really "show" us anything (outside of some silly animation) and Gut Rot never stoops to explicit "Gross Out Humor". The Butlers aren't the Farrellys, which is one reason I'm giving Three and a Half Stars out of Five to Larry & Burt's Gut Rot! Again, it's not perfect. They need the backing to make their show something bigger. But comparing it to "webisodes" out there, trust me... this is Streaming Video worth watching.
Are you happy now, Paulie and Thunderclap? Can you let my dog go, please? Thank you. I'll check you oot in the next reel.
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