3 Stars
Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 54 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:

“B-O-L-O-G-N-A…Hope it gets in the way. B-O-L-O-G-N-A…Pink to gray, watch it decaaaaaaaaay…”
What you have just read is one of the many lyrics for songs by one Frederick Manchild, a person, whose rare disorder causes him to stink of rotting fish and has a tendency to put bologna on the receiving ends of pay phones and in newspapers, as well as bicycle seats, so that he can even out the smell that he has, so to speak. Come on, the guy just wants to be loved and understood. In reality, Manchild is performance artist Justin Callaway, who wears a giant baby head and looks to find success in the form of a top 40 hit. Interestingly enough, Justin can’t sing, but how does that make him different from the scores of people who tried out for American Idol or are currently on the show? The difference is that he’s not as glossy and actually is creative in many ways.
This documentary splits its time between being a mockumentary about Manchild and documenting who Callaway is and why he wants a top 40 hit. There’s footage of him in the recording studio and sometime later, with a voice coach trying to help him out. While Callaway is an interesting person who’s trying to steer himself away from Manchild and try other ventures that could be successful, the documentary does not sustain that and it becomes tiresome as the minutes wear on, specifically in the second half. Yeah, we’re aware of the fact that this guy wants to turn his work into something big and the footage is there of him trying to make it work, but the same wishes constantly get repeated. A better idea for this would have been to make the entire documentary into a mockumentary about Manchild.
Between the bologna song and putting dead fish in Laundromat dryers, how could you NOT want to “learn” more about Manchild? There’s definitely a gleam of something here that could have been made into something more.

Posted on May 21, 2003 in Reviews by

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