Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 88 minutes
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Best friends are often very different types of people. Max Baumgarten (Jhon Doria), for instance, is the hunky renegade sort, while his best friend since they were kids Ben Edison (Dan Rockett) is more the mild-mannered, sensitive musician hippie-type. When Ben runs afoul of a drunken redneck one fateful night in Kansas while the boys are on their way to a gig in Vegas, he finds himself on the receiving end of some pointed cowboy boots and pummeling fists. Max comes to his rescue just in time, although his retribution, while effective, offers the considerable downside of inviting some potentially lethal retribution of its own.
Thus begins the strangely surreal, musical road movie director Mike Brand sets us out on with “Dick Baby.” Along the way, we learn of Max’s search for his father, long-since missing and presumed dead, and try to discern the meaning behind Ben’s strange recurring visions of a Billy Idol-like figure wearing a necklace made with birds. The boys also pick up the scheming Mike Vogel (Martin Gohhee) and space cadet Ted Camp (Creighton Morrison) along the way; a couple of offbeat friends from their days in the orphanage who join them on their journey to…well, I don’t really know where.
My guess is that Rockett, who wrote and performed almost all of this film’s soundtrack, conceived of “Dick Baby” as a visual interpretation of his music. In fact, Brand seems to be attempting the brave — or foolhardy — task of telling the story through Rockett’s lyrics, as the screenplay maybe only had about thirty lines of (spoken) dialogue scattered throughout; none of which were nearly enough to make sense out of the film’s seemingly randomly assembled, dreamy, peyote-like musical interludes.
With its essentially homogenous, casually good-looking cast and listenable, slightly psychedelic guitar-driven soundtrack playing almost constantly, it’s easy to imagine “Dick Baby” as the kind of film, say, Collective Soul might write and star in, if ever they were to be tempted to do such a thing. Let’s hope they don’t. Because while obtuse metaphorical lyrics might pass as intelligent poetry in song, on screen, as in “Dick Baby,” it merely comes across as confusing as hell.
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Posted on November 8, 2003 in Reviews by Merle Bertrand
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