Less inept than its worst-of-the-year title suggests, Frankie nonetheless proves too ramshackle and aimless ever to achieve true absurdity. Already living in the desert to escape public shame over an embarrassing wedding video his brother Bruce (Chris O'Dowd) uploaded online, Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) again becomes an Internet sensation when aspiring director Bruce covertly films him struggling to perform in bed with Lassie (Lizzy Caplan). This sets in motion a chain of wannabe-wacky events that also involve movie star Jack (Chris Noth), a gun-loving psycho who's Bruce's drug-rehab friend and Lassie's dad. While he shoots his action with considerable skill, writer/director Jordan Roberts never properly establishes a clear narrative through-line, with his script haphazardly jumping among incidents with a cast of characters—including porn-site administrators, Bruce's callous editor (Whitney Cummings), and Frankie and Bruce's parents (Nora Dunn and Sam Anderson)—who come off as cartoony without actually being funny. Still, Hunnam and O'Dowd's rapport is amusingly prickly; and though far too many bits (like one involving pig puke) are driven by strained craziness, the sight of Ron Perlman painting his toenails and speaking of his "lost phallus" as a post-op transsexual does inject the proceedings with a measure of original outrageousness.
Hunnam and Perlman share a moment.
Runs Fri., Nov. 2-Thurs., Nov. 8 at Grand Illusion. Not rated. 89 minutes.