Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: Rifftrax: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny

Every now and again one wonders "how did this get made?"  I used to wonder it about major motion pictures, like Battlefield Earth or yet another Pirates Of The Caribbean movie, but no more.  I know how those get made.  Studios get talked into trying to bank on a star's success by making a big budget production with them, or they hope to get the next Star Wars, Hunger Games, or Harry Potter.

But I have no idea how Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny was made without someone looking around at the film production, sighing, and doing their best to combine a tank of gas and a match.  I have spent the last four days pondering this mystery, and I am no closer to an answer.

Without the commentary from the crew of Rifftrax, this movie would be unwatchable.  It defies incredulity.  You don't want to believe it's real, but the movie simply presents itself in front of you and says, to all the world, "I exist.  Deal with it."  And then it rolls over, falls off what it was lying across, and falls in the mud, because that, to this film, would be the pinnacle of humor.

This is a movie that combines Santa, an Ice Cream Bunny (I still have no idea what that is), and even drags Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer into the mix.  The kicker?  Two of those characters don't meet the other two, and two characters don't meet each other until the very end of the movie!

The movie was written, composed, shot, edited, and directed (and probably catered) by, and I'm not making this up, R. Winer.  The film was meant to frame a couple of children's movies created by Barry Mahon, the creators of such classics as (I'm not making any of these titles up):

Cuban Rebel Girls
Rocket Attack U.S.A.
Sex Killer
Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico
Nudes, Nudists, and Nudism Volume 2

No, I don't know who made Volume 1, and if they were so bad they couldn't be brought back for the sequel, then I don't want to know, either.

Here's the story, as near as I can tell: Santa's sleigh is stuck in the sand in Florida, conveniently near Pirates World, a theme park that was doing relatively well until Disney opened a park a short ways away.  Soon after they faced bankruptcy, and now there are only condominiums where there used to be a pirate-themed park.

He summons a group of children to him to try to help him out (conveniently simply naming some of them "girls" and "kid" when he calls to them), and they all try to bring various animals to help him pull his sleigh to get it free.  Despite the best efforts of the kids to use a cow, sheep, pig, and gorilla (!) to pull the sleigh, it remains stuck.  So, Santa tells the children a story (either Thumbelina or Jack and the Beanstalk depending on which version you see).  Then the Ice Cream Bunny shows up, offers to drive Santa to the North Pole on an antique fire truck, and the sleigh magically teleports itself back to the North Pole.

Seriously, that's the plot.

There's a few songs (okay, a lot of songs), but none are very good.  There are long stretches of time where you're literally staring at sand or just watching Santa melt under Florida heat.  The sound quality is almost nonexistent, the quality of filming would be better handled by a six year old who just consumed a triple espresso roast latte, and considering one of the characters is listed online as "kid who jumps off roof," (and he's a major character, too!) you can probably guess how hard people are trying to make this an enjoyable viewing experience.

Now, I don't laugh out loud very often.  I might chuckle, snicker, or even snigger, but I don't laugh.  At least, not unless something is extremely funny.  I used to laugh a lot when watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? for example.  I laughed so hard it hurt at a production of The Play What I Wrote.

I laughed out loud (loled, even) quite often during this movie.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, despite the fact that the film itself had me constantly wondering if I should just leave, because I clearly wasn't going to see anything worthwhile without the contribution of the Rifftrax crew.

It's absolutely horrible.  Everybody should go to the encore performance on December 15th.

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