"Dude, Drake isn't calling you – your cell phone is deader than I am!" Hank (Paul Dano) while hanging out with his newfound corpse of a friend Danny (Daniel Radcliffe) Credit: Joyce Kim, courtesy of A24.

KEY CAST MEMBERS: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe and Mary Elizabeth  

WRITER(S): Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert a.k.a. Daniels

DIRECTOR(S): Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert a.k.a. Daniels


THE STORY AS BEST WE KNOW IT: A picture that might run away with most original – and definitely most flatulent – story of the year, Swiss Army Man stars Paul Dano as Hank. Hank is in a bit of a pickle. He is stranded on a deserted island, starving and pretty much ready to end it all. Then, he happens to see a body that has washed ashore in the form of Manny (Daniel Radcliffe), who is – much to Hank's chagrin – dead.  Then he starts farting. 

Yes, farting. A lot. Like, a LOT.

Realizing something is up with his newfound potential companion, Hank takes advantage of the situation by – well, if I tell you, you will NOT believe me – using Manny's special skills to escape his situation. But his amazement is nothing like what he experiences once the corpse that is Manny's body actually begins speaking back to him. And once he does, it becomes apparent that Manny is very eager to learn about Sara Johnson (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), hence the reason his body – or at least, VERY specific parts of it – seems to be responding and coming back to life. So, if Hank is to make it back to the real world and Manny is to get home to California to see Sara again, they are going to have to work together through a series of trails and travails to make it happen. And as they do, they begin to learn a lot about what it means to truly live, even as one of them tries to fight dying and the other tries to well, stay dead but not really ...

It's all going down one super unorthodox step at a time ...

WHO WILL LIKE THIS MOVIE THE MOST? Daniel Radcliffe fans; people who love fart jokes and wacky, video game-like situations; those who are looking something completely different at the movies this summer; anyone who loves when a movie is irreverent, zany and just not like everything else 

WHO WILL HATE THIS MOVIE THE MOST? People who find flatulence juvenile in any and all contexts; heterosexual men not comfortable with their own sexuality; anyone who watches the trailer and has a "WTF" moment either in their own mind or out loud; those who simply cannot handle/deal with the premise of the movie from the start 

SO IS IT GOOD, GREAT, JUST ALL RIGHT OR DOWNRIGHT AWFUL?  Swiss Army Man is a perfect "split" movie – half the people that see it are going to ab-so-lute-ly HATE it, finding it to be goofy, silly, dumb and likely just outright gross. There are others who are going to watch it, find it hilarious at the beginning, then find themselves thinking the movie is going to take a more serious (albeit in the most outrageous form) turn and then have another "WTF" moment. (Side note: if you don't know what that acronym stands for, you're REALLY behind the times and I'm not telling you.)

Here's another way to look at it: Do you watch Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming? No, not the prime time stuff like reruns of the under-appreciated Cleveland Show or recent episodes of the surprisingly terrific Bob's Burgers – I mean the after midnight stuff like China, IL, The Eric Andre Show and/or Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Because if you have seen those shows, you know that there is an element of comedy that does not follow the more traditional idea of storytelling with humor and undercurrent of sweetness. Swiss Army Man is much more like the aforementioned shows where there is so much crazy going on that by the time an element of traditional storytelling is introduced, you're lulled into a false sense of security before the ending goes completely bonkers again. And that is EXACTLY what happens in Swiss Army Man, doing so in a totally unapologetically manner where if you have a problem with it, it's your problem. It does take a look at things such as what would you do to get back to the person you love, appreciating the idea of love as a concept and friendship ... While at the same time blasting (pun intended) you with flatulence jokes, homoerotic situations (either as part of the joke to see just how far they can push both the story and the audience) and just some general zaniness that again, you're either on board with or is just going to leave you shaking your head and/or your mouth wide open going "what, WHAT?!" to the point you sound like an old DMX single. This is why the film is almost review proof, as it will find an audience, but if you find it before you know you are part of that audience, it might not end well. But if you are a prim and proper person who'd rather not see a film where gas, erections and men generally behaving in some very silly ways is not on display, you'd be wise to look elsewhere than Swiss Army Man.

Daniel Radcliffe deserves all the credit in the world for fully – and I mean FULLY – committing to his role as the he-is-or-isn't-he-dead Manny in a performance that requires him to go beyond any role he's ever had before, both mentally and physically. Be it raw butt crack releasing motorized gases (those words make sense once you've seen the movie) to move the protagonist along, the only thing this Radcliffe has in common with his Now You See Me 2 counterpart is a name and enjoying the paychecks he received from both roles. Dano plays his part well as does Winstead in her limited but crucial role, but this is really Radcliffe's showcase in which to shine. But, in a movie where you are watching a suicidal man hang out with a talking corpse - that has some VERY functional body parts - he uses like a Swiss Army knife (there, THAT should explain the title!) to escape a number of improbable situations, the idea of "shining" may vary by audience member. It's like watching the short films the characters in Me, Earl & the Dying Girl made for each other, just with an actual budget.

That leads me into my last thought about Swiss Army Man: Remember sitting around with your friends in junior high school talking about ideas for movies you had and thinking they would be totally awesome if you could make them because you guys were the best?! Now, imagine finding those movie ideas 20-30 years later and pitching them to a major Hollywood executive WHILE AT THE SAME TIME you know they are just awful OR you think they are even better than you remember.

Depending on what your reaction to that idea was, you may find the idea of Swiss Army Man to be the greatest movie of 2016 ... Or just one that is too gassy for its own good.



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