Bill's excellent adventure

After two copulating birds bash into his satellite dish, the blandly handsome Grant develops god-like powers. When he and his new bride, Kerry, have sex, the entire house joins in, from the soap dish to the electric sockets. Grant manipulates her breasts to form balloon animals; he changes her into a blonde, then a nun, then the Statue of Liberty. Basically, he's become his creator, animator Bill Plympton, able to make the world reflect his every id-driven whim. Is it any wonder that Kerry begins to question if Grant is still the same straight-up guy she married?

I Married A Strange Person

animated by Bill Plympton

starts Friday at Varsity

Plympton's new movie, I Married a Strange Person, opens with a quote from Picasso: "Ah, good taste, what a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativity." Plympton has taken this quote perhaps a little too much to heart, but with a good dose of sprightly charm. The sex and violence characteristic of the genre aren't oversold here. There's none of the heavy, brooding overtones of Japanese anime or the immediate gross-out flavor of too many "extreme" cartoon shorts. Grant and Kerry look like they've stepped out of an overripe romance comic; the frequent songs would sound great on a ukulele, sung by some smiling guy in a straw boater. Plympton's drawing style vibrates, shimmies, and pops with boyish cheer. Before long, however, roaches swarm into the mouth of Grant's mother-in-law, a stand-up comic juggles his own internal organs and tears himself to pieces for a laugh, and of course there's the aforementioned household orgasm.

Plympton finances his cartoons himself, with no corporate support, and they have the strengths and weaknesses of an artist's complete control. On the one hand, I Married is crammed with inventive details that veer off course. An amusing excursion into the origin of belly-button lint, for example, might have been nipped in the bud by more sober-minded individuals—leaving the movie smoother but much less fun. On the other hand, no one is saying, "Stop!" When the evil conglomerate Smile Corp. sends its private army after Grant, the movie degenerates into repetitive scenes of big guns blazing away as our hero and heroine zoom off in a red convertible. Toothless jabs at military thinking aren't as entertaining as lurid sex and whimsical surrealism, but that sex and surrealism sure sparkled up till then.

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