Written and directed by Mike Morelli, Jordan Cantwell’s epic quest to see his favourite face-painted rapper and get as high as possible hits a snag when he is unable to score drugs and tries to sell his girlfriend’s baby. Starring: Johnny Smith, Erica Everett, Timothy Chivalette, Carly J. Bauer, Anna Szapiro, Bill Mellen and Timothy Day Slisky.
The simplest way to describe this film is that it’s exactly what you think it’s going to be, there’s no pretence or twists, it does what it sets out to do. What that is, is a gross-out comedy and misadventure of a bunch of drug addicts and terrible parents. The adventure itself feels mistimed, there’s not enough focus on the final destination so the journey feels slightly aimless, his main aim is getting high and he manages to do that several times which starts to get repetitive. The comedy will for the most part be what you’d expect but there are a couple of lines that it crosses and goes too far which for those whose sense of humour it fits, will probably love it but others might be tempted to turn it off. There are a few comedic areas that it should have really stayed away from, attempting to use police brutality and racism is too outside of the realm of where this film lives, it falls more into satire rather than the outlandish, violent and disgusting world that they’ve created.
Morelli’s directorial style dives headfirst into the persona that Jordan creates, it’s perfectly matched to his drug-addled, idiotic, reckless and selfish character. It’s full of colour, it’s constantly moving and uses angles that are extremely varied and always slightly away from what would be neat or sharp, keeping things off kilter. It goes occasionally overboard with the effects and almost filter like use of colour, it does fit the story but it’s a little too much at times to create a more satisfying viewing experience. However, you can’t deny that it does build a very strong atmosphere that feeds perfectly into its story, it’s packed with an air of intoxication.
Given how outlandish these characters are, it’s almost difficult to judge the performances because they’ll likely come across very different depending on the person watching. That said, they do tick the boxes of what they need to do. Johnny Smith’s Jordan is neither lovable nor likeable at all but he leads the charge well, a charge towards drugs and only drugs, for which he’s willing to sell his own child. He’s entirely convincing in this selfish quest and deserves credit for how much his performance makes you dislike his character, it’s difficult to even pity him despite just how dumb he is.
Sh*thead is one of those films that’s made for a particular audience, you’ll either love it or hate it but it all depends on your sense of humour. The story feels like it lacks a driving force, it needed a stronger goal to reach or for it to feel like all the misadventures were genuinely connected, and it tends to waste time with unnecessary tangents. The directorial work perfectly fits the tone its setting but it gets a little messy at times and becomes fairly repetitive. The ending feels like it has little to do with anything that’s happened and is surprisingly unimaginative for a film that otherwise is quite original. Simply put, it will either work for you or it won’t but there was room for improvement to make it more accessible to a wider audience.