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August 9, 2013

Movie Review: I.B.S. (2013)

I’ve seen my share of gross out horror comedies. I’ve even been a party to some. There is a fine line that needs to be trod in order for these to be successful. When you’re dealing with subject matter like I.B.S. (which, in real world parlance, stands for irritable bowel syndrome) does, that line is even thinner. In all honesty, the film could have worked with a little more care and attention to detail. There are two ways for a film with this initial concept (the tag line is “When he’s gotta go, you gotta go”) to work. Either screw it up so bad and give the entire filmmaking world the finger on your way to cult movie status OR produce a fine-looking film that revels in its wrong-ness despite the quality. I.B.S. lets loose right down the middle and, if I may be so bold, would have benefited from a courtesy flush.

I.B.S. tells the tale of Larry… a loser with irritable bowel syndrome brought on by childhood trauma. He suffers in multiple poopie-laden situations. Caught with his pants down, due to the immediate, soupy diarrhea that accompanies real I.B.S., Larry is having issues with bullies, his job, the girls, etc. After accidentally killing his sworn enemy, Larry finds out that killing people temporarily cures his psychosomatic fudge-ness problem and we’re off to the races.

The major issue with I.B.S. is how long it takes to get moving. For a simple, one joke concept, it takes a long time to get to our first kill and then we rush through the remainder of them. The idea is a good one, but the joke only lasts so long before it is nothing more than a string of Larry kills folks to keep from shitting his pants scenarios. There is some inspired interplay between Larry (James Costa) and his best pal, man-slut Buddy (D.M. Folger, Jr.), which serves to really hold the film together. As on-screen roommates, these two really work well together and they appeared to be having a good time.

Effects-wise, I.B.S. is hit or miss. There are the ample moments of splattery, grungy toilet bowls and underwear with racing stripes up the back, so, if you were worried that a movie about turds wouldn’t have any, don’t be. The gore is well done in spots (the chainsaw sequence is a keeper) and really helps to move the film along.

Mike O’Mahony, writer/director of both I.B.S. and Sloppy the Psychotic, does yeoman work here. This film builds on top of Sloppy, so we can see that as he becomes more and more experienced, Mahony’s films get a bit more mature (from a filmmaking aspect, not content). That only leaves one way for him to go. Amp up the quality and revel in the bad taste, sir, you’re just getting to good to pull it off any other way.

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