Take a Drink: for not too subtle phallic imagery
Take a Drink: for simple misunderstandings which could be fixed by a conversation (too bad this movie has no dialogue)
Drink a Shot: for Looney Toons physics
Drink a Shot: for that screaming fish.
By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –
One day while at the amusement park, a woman and man meet and fall madly in love. In no time, they are married and living together in a comfortable suburban home. But the honeymoon is now over, and both of them notice the distance. As both husband and wife try to figure out ways to rejuvenate their relationship, the wife manages to have a picture accidentally taken in a compromised (but innocent) position. This drives the husband into a jealous rage, and he unsuccessfully attempts suicide, eventually finding brief solace sleeping around with a series of women. As the wife discovers her husbands infidelities, she despairs her circumstances, and contemplates her own version of revenge.
Filmmaker Bill Plympton has spent several decades on the indie-animator circuit, releasing dozens of shorts and multiple feature films. His films often receive high accolades at film festivals, but have seldom seen more than minor art-house releases. His latest film Cheatin‘ is not an exception, as it steadfastly avoids any of the commercial trappings which would make it presentable to the family-friendly audiences of mainstream animation. Make no mistake; Cheatin’ is not the kind of cartoon you’ll take your kids to for a Saturday Matinee.
The film’s sense of humor is reminiscent of a 1960s French farce, with misunderstandings and unfortunate coincidences being the name of the game. Those who enjoy their humor with a whimsical flair should certainly give this a try.
The animation style exaggerates physical elements of both the male and female characters pushed to their limits for emphasis. So many animated films aimed at adult audiences have a sexist quality to the art style, and I’m pleased to say this isn’t the case with Cheatin’. Plympton is an equal-opportunity satirist when it comes to caricature, as the men and women are both given equally silly attributes.
Adding to this even-handed nature is a storyline which places no direct blame on either party, as they are both equally ignorant of the truth behind their predicament.
The film’s chief falling-out point is in the third act, where a few too many plot twists mire the story needlessly. The film’s use of no dialogue is a fascinating and nearly perfect creative decision until this point, but without words to carry things along, the visuals are given all the work. By the time the movie introduces a magician with a soul-switching machine, the film’s storytelling begins to fall apart.
As sumptuous as the animation style can be, some of the more eccentric departures from the story slow down the narrative. In a film which is already under 80 minutes in length, padding is abundant with multiple dream sequences that are visually creative but dramatically unnecessary.
While the story kind of flies off the hinges, Cheatin’ is a gorgeously animated, stylish, and often hilarious comedy of errors.