Well, about five years ago, writer / director Todd Rohal made a minor splash at film festivals with an unusual movie called THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE. His follow-up is THE CATECHISM CATACLYSM -- try to say that ten times fast -- an odd low-budget comedy about a socially stunted Catholic priest who takes a canoeing trip with a surly metalhead. Steve Little plays Father Billy. He's a squeaky-clean moron who confounds his parishioners and annoys his fellow priests. It's one of the most intentionally grating lead performances I've seen in a while.
Since childhood, Father Billy has idolized Robbie, a guy who briefly dated Father Billy's sister in high school. Father Billy seeks out Robbie -- played by Robert Longstreet -- up and invites him to hang out for a few hours in a rented canoe.
A failed musician whose life hasn't exactly turned out the way he wanted it to, Robbie serves as a sort of depressing straight man to the needy, cheery Father Billy.
There are some moments in here that are really funny -- and a few that are genuinely inspired -- but a lot of it is tedious and directionless, especially the scenes that involve Robbie and Billy interacting with two Japanese tourists traveling along the same river. I have to give this a thumbs down.
CHRISTY: I have to give it a thumbs down as well. I’m baffled by a lot of the intentions here. I’m not quite sure what Rohal is trying to do with the Father Billy character. Is he making fun of religion? Is it like an affectionate, kind of spoof of young, hip priests? I don’t get what he means by this character. He’s like there for derision for everybody, and I’m like confused by it.
IGNATIY: I think the character’s fate is supposed to be…uh…what’s the word?
CHRISTY: Pure? He means well. Right?
IGNATIY: It’s supposed to be…he’s very he means very well, but I think the movie is intentionally baffling.
CHRISTY: Yeah, and then the whole Japanese tourist thing is like a whole different movie. It’s like surreal.
IGNATIY: Well, this is like seven different movies you know every ten minutes this is a different movie.
CHRISTY: None of which works.
IGNATIY: Not yet, none of which are really all that good.