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Vulgar is a 2000 film, produced by View Askew Productions and featuring a few actors from the View Askewniverse of Kevin Smith. The film is the tale of the mascot, featured in Clerks' opening. Will Carlson is a 20-something loser who lives in a rundown neighborhood, where he ekes out a living as a birthday party clown in order to pay the rent for his abusive mother's nursing home and the mortgage on his rundown house. Despite the difficulties of the job, clowning is Will's one escape from the realities of his miserable existence: Will genuinely likes kids, and takes great joy from making them happy on their birthdays. Struggling to make ends meet, but not wanting to give up his dream job, Will comes up with the idea to be a "bachelor party clown." Will's idea is that men throwing bachelor parties can hire him as well as a stripper; Will enters the room prior to the "real" entertainment, wearing clown makeup and lingerie, tricking the bachelor into thinking that there was a mix-up and a gay clown stripper has been sent in lieu of a female one.
On his very first assignment, 'Vulgar,' as he goes by after hours, finds himself beaten and gang raped by a group of horny guys. Oops. No sooner has Vulgar/Flappy recovered than he saves a young girl from her murderous father, lands on the talk show circuit, and soon is offered his own kids' TV show. Soon enough, the hillbilly types catch up with him and attempt to blackmail him for the inevitable videotape of the night. Pulp Fiction-style revenge ensues.
Unfortunatley, clowning star Brian O'Halloran couldn't exactly act in Clerks (he played Dante) and he still can't do it here in Vulgar. The production is typical of the Kevin Smith universe, with outrageous raunchiness, an impossible story, and the usual cast of characters -- including bit parts from Jason Mewes (Jay) and Smith himself. No one so much as bothers to build any subtext into their characters; they're phoning it in, without apology, knowing full well that the Cult of Kevin Smith will eat up anything Kevin & Co. deign to spit at them.
As much as it pains me to say it, Vulgar isn't as bad as it sounds. It's overly graphic -- carefully crafted to be truly disgusting on order to appeal to the trash-obsessed comic book crowd -- to the point where the attempts at comedy are lost. But it has a scrappy charm -- sometimes -- which comes through its desire to gross you out. I can't say I enjoyed it (and my wife tried to make me turn it off altogether), but I'm sure there's a teenage boy out there somewhere who's dying for this kind of entertainment.
DVD includes deleted scenes, a featurette (about the making Dogma, not about Vulgar!), and a commentary track on the unrated version of the disc. The film festival rejection letters are amusing but unenlightening (hey, I have copies of all these myself!).
What's with the tip?