THE BOY WHO CRIED BITCH easily qualifies as one of the most reprehensible films ever made. Its climax alone makes it eminently eligible for this distinction: a psychotic boy points a gun at his mother's face in a closeup that goes on for an agonizing aeon.
The troubled lad in question is Danny Love (Harley Cross), who as far as we are shown has suffered not even so much as the threat of a spanking in all of his misbegotten short life. His mother, Candice (Karen Young), seems nearly as imbalanced as he. What, then, are we to make of this gratuitous
farrago involving two of the most unappealing characters ever to be featured in a movie? Pity? Sorrow? Fear? The one emotion it's sure to incite in audiences is impatience for the actors to get that last dirty deed done so they can be liberated from the suffocating, grotesque atmosphere that has
Danny is so unmitigatedly rotten that he makes Patty McCormack in THE BAD SEED seem cherubic by comparison, THE OMEN's Damien a veritable bundle of joy. Minutes into the film, he scrawls a pen across his mother's freshly painted walls, calls her "Slut-bitch," and heaves Kentucky Fried coleslaw
into her face. She reacts to these shenanigans (which involve his nearly as obstreperous two younger brothers) by baring a defiant breast at them. This subdues them, for an instant. There follows a queasy scene of near child molestation involving Danny and a mind-warped Vietnam vet. When Danny's
behavior grows even more aberrant, Candice packs him off to a psychiatric clinic which serves as a stage for him to continue his diabolical antics. The film becomes a junior version of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST with the usual roundup of suspects: an Ophelia-like girl who conceives an
unrequited love for Danny, a confused youth who goes to hell when he's taken off his medication, a black, who naturally raps, etc. Danny threatens a roommate with a plastic fork to the throat, gets thrown into solitary, torches the hallways and has convulsions in the classroom. When it becomes
obvious that he is more than any shrink or institution can handle, Candice steps in and brings him back home, cuing the aforementioned final scene.
What inspired the filmmakers to make this shameful thing defies conventional wisdom. The portentous music and grim air of seriousness indicate that something more, even, God forbid, Art, was intended here, rather than a mere trashily exploitative diversion. They had the germ of a good idea in
what can happen with children in a too-lenient household. The currently chic, laissez faire attitude of so many baby-boomers towards their babies rather inspires dread of what kinds of monsters this latest generation may turn out to be; we might well become a nation of Ayatollahs and Leona
Director Juan Jose Campanella and producer-screenwriter Catherine May Levin thoroughly blew it, however, by making Danny so relentlessly evil and encouraging the awesomely bad acting of their cast. Karen Young is obviously attempting to do something creepy and strange with Candice. Her
off-the-wall line readings would almost be hilarious if they weren't so calculatedly dreadful. All sympathy for her character is nullified; you feel that she deserves just as bad a time as the one she's inflicting on the audience. Ditto for Cross, who, on top of everything else, affects the most
excruciatingly unconvincing stutter ever recorded. One feels completely masochistic sitting through this film, never more so than when Cross suddenly breaks into some very De Niro-like method posturing when his planned escape to Hawaii is thwarted. (Excessive violence, substance abuse, profanity,sexual situations, nudity.)
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