Hey, Happy!

Could there be something in the Winnipeg water supply, or is it those long, frozen winters? Whatever the cause, it seems that each new film from Manitoba's capital is freakier than the last. Some, like the sui generis mini-masterpieces of Guy Maddin, are brilliant, while others, like this indescribable feature from Noam Gonick (author of the Bruce LaBruce...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Could there be something in the Winnipeg water supply, or is it those long, frozen winters? Whatever the cause, it seems that each new film from Manitoba's capital is freakier than the last. Some, like the sui generis mini-masterpieces of Guy Maddin, are brilliant, while others, like this indescribable feature from Noam Gonick (author of the Bruce LaBruce profile Ride, Queer, Ride! and director of Maddin bio GUY MADDIN: WAITING FOR TWILIGHT), are, well, indescribable. The film's action takes place on the desolate outskirts of Winnipeg, on the eve of what could well be the Apocalypse. Pot-smoking, amyl nitrate-sniffing DJ Sabu (Jeremie Yuen) works at an open-air porn emporium, mixing beats and the moans and groans of smut-movie soundtracks with random radio transmissions warning of the second coming of the Great Flood. Apocalypse or no apocalypse, DJ Sabu is on a personal mission: He's determined to sleep with 2,000 guys, and he's just one fling away from reaching his goal. That fling, Sabu has decided, will be Happy (Craig Aftanas), Winnipeg's version of the village idiot, who finds numerological patterns in men's room graffiti and receives communiques from other astral planes. Or maybe it's just the side effects of the toxic waste Happy slurps and sniffs. Sabu propositions Happy at that night's rave on Garbage Hill, and Happy, once he overcomes his virginal shyness, is eager to oblige; the alien voices tell him they can't make physical contact until he has sex with Sabu. So the stage is set for something like romance, until Sabu's nemesis, the evil-genius hairdresser Spanky O'Niel (Clayton Godson), and his goon squad of chubby beauticians nab Happy and force him into love slavery. This ready-made midnight movie probably won't stand the cold light of day, but under the right conditions, it's goofy (if not entirely wholesome) fun. It's the kind of shock flick that revels in its own offensiveness and even goes so far as to reenact one of the more disgusting moments from John Water's seminal PINK FLAMINGOS (don't worry, it's not that one). Gonick transfigures Winnipeg into an industrial junkyard filled with colorful freaks and transsexual disco superstars, a place where everyone seems to be at least one of several shades of gay. Clearly, it's not for everyone. Extra points for a great electronic soundtrack, striking widescreen cinematography and an unapologetically freaky attitude.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Could there be something in the Winnipeg water supply, or is it those long, frozen winters? Whatever the cause, it seems that each new film from Manitoba's capital is freakier than the last. Some, like the sui generis mini-masterpieces of Guy Maddin, are b… (more)

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