Chip Gutchel (writer-director Tyler Cornack) is miserable. He works as an IT engineer, has a loveless marriage, and a baby boy called Marty (Tyler Dryden), but his life remains unfulfilled until his routine prostate exam awakens something within him: he likes butt stuff. After a failed attempt at getting his wife (Shelby Dash) involved in his new kink, Chip resorts to shoving everyday household objects up his butt, and it develops into a full-blown addiction. Eventually, Chip needs to find bigger and better stuff to use, but one day he takes it too far — resulting in a suicide attempt and the disappearance of a child.
Nine years later, Chip seems to be keeping his addiction in check by attending Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s at these meetings that Chip meets a newly-sober detective, Russel Fox (Tyler Rice), and becomes his sponsor. With his slicked-back hair, leather jacket, and drinking problem that doesn’t go unnoticed by others, Russel looks and acts like a stereotypical television detective. After Chip’s relapse, Russel is assigned to investigate another missing child, and becomes convinced that Chip is involved. But will anyone believe Russel’s crazy theory?
With a title like Butt Boy, you’d expect a gross-out sex comedy along the lines of Sex Drive, but this film subverts these expectations and associations. While it has comedic elements, the film is made with complete seriousness, having more footing in the detective sub-genre than any other. The concept is also played as dark and disturbing from the start, and the cast’s stoic performances elevate its effectiveness. Furthermore, it’s refreshing to see a film depict an emotional and unhappy man, as well as his offbeat fetish, which works as a metaphor for addiction in broader terms.
Each character has their own poison for coping with the dissatisfaction of life. From Butt Boy‘s opening, Chip is looking to fill an emptiness — for him, it’s the butt thing. However, for Russel, it’s the alcoholism, a more recognized dependence that plagues many men his age. Butt Boy is a film that plays around with its roles. Chip is introduced to us first, as our protagonist; Russel, the hard-boiled detective, is introduced to us shortly after, as an antagonistic type — but neither are as they appear. The plot remains intriguing throughout, as it’s impossible to predict how far Cornack is willing to go with this insanely original idea. The film isn’t overtly graphic — it doesn’t actually show anything vanishing up Chip’s butt, but the implication is enough to generate unease while still providing a comfortable viewing.
Interestingly, the film draws comparisons to Swallow, as they both include people inserting foreign objects into their bodies. Swallow follows a young woman’s struggle to regain control over her own body, as her life is dictated by her wealthy husband and his parents, but Butt Boy explores issues pertaining to addiction. With a shared theme of control, they would make for a quite unusual double feature.
Butt Boy‘s tone, color palette, and filmmaking feel very naturalistic. Despite the silliness of the premise, the style and overarching seriousness allow it to appear relatively grounded. During the film’s last act, however, it embraces the humor of the situation and explodes into fun. Cornack best outlines the essence of Butt Boy in his own words: “In a movie like Airplane, the characters find themselves in a very serious situation, but it’s filled with jokes. Butt Boy is the opposite.”