C-

Postal

Just as noxious fumes can alert the public to the presence of a toxic spill, Uwe Boll's reputation precedes him. Like a Bizarro World version of Werner Herzog, Boll has a crackpot mythology and larger-than-life persona that tend to upstage his films. Considering the negligible quality of those films—largely borderline-incompetent videogame adaptations like Alone In The Dark—that's probably a good thing. Boll's bizarre camp oddities have long had indulgent cult audiences in stitches with their hilariously stilted dialogue, convoluted plots, and laughable attempts to pass off Tara Reid as a woman of substance and intelligence. With Postal, the widely mocked auteur and glorified carny barker tries something completely different: an out-and-out comedy. His latest effort—already infamous for having its planned release to 1,500 theaters scaled back to double digits—is a provocation first, an insult second, a publicity stunt third, and a film a distant fourth.

Adapted from the notorious ultra-violent videogame series of the same name, Postal casts Boll fixture Zack Ward as a trailer-park fuck-up who stumbles into the middle of a bizarre clash between the followers of Osama bin Laden and the disciples of Dave Foley, a debauched, half-assed cult leader with a joint glued to his lips. Vern Troyer and Boll himself—ever the camera-shy shrinking violet—costar as rancid caricatures of themselves in a sledgehammer social satire where nobody emerges with their dignity intact, especially audiences.

Postal brattily cycles its way through a long checklist of comedy taboos—9/11, concentration camps, pedophilia, bin Laden, Hitler—but there's something strangely affable and breezy about its unwillingness to take anything remotely seriously, itself included. In just one of the film's many curious paradoxes, Foley commits deeply to not giving a fuck; the loosey-goosey nonchalance of his performance is unexpectedly winning. Any film that boasts a lengthy and strangely hypnotic appearance by Foley's flaccid penis, Troyer being sexually violated by an ocean of CGI monkeys, and a climactic speech that prominently involves the word "fucktard" has at least an element of novelty going for it. Only in Boll's upside-down world would a halfhearted assertion that his latest film isn't really all that terrible almost pass as a ringing endorsement. With Postal, Boll clearly set out to make history's most offensive, hateful movie. As is his custom, he failed spectacularly.

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