REVIEW: Tiny Cinema (2022)

dir. Tyler Cornack

A mysterious Host (Paul Ford) guides us through six strange tales in this unhinged port-manteau from the makers of Butt Boy (2019). If you’re familiar with that movie – a former FrightFest film about a man with a compulsion to stick objects, and ultimately people, inside his anus – you’ll have some idea of the register director Cornack’s new film is tuning into.

For although the framing device introduces this as a Twilight Zone of depravity, the chapters – all directed by Cornack – unfurl with that same curious mix of gross-out humour and oddly affecting empathy, to greater or lesser levels of success. Adapted from Cornack and co-writer Ryan Koch’s TV series of the same name, Tiny Cinema suffers then – as many anthologies do – with an unevenness which stops the whole being fully triumphant.

Things begin promisingly enough with “Game Night”, where a throwaway comment at a party sends one attendee spiralling down a rabbit hole of male neurosis. “Edna” too is a lot of fun, satirising the search for a soulmate when the eponymous heroine (Olivia Herman) fishes a fresh cadaver out of a storm drain. And third chapter “Bust!” is strangely moving, where a group of friends band together to solve a pal’s erectile dysfunction in a particularly unusual way.

Unfortunately the second half fares less well: “Deep Impact” drags on as a delivery driver meets someone claiming to be his future self with an icky plan to save the world; “Motherfuckers” is a short – and decidedly unsweet – one joke riff on Goodfellas-esque gangsters; and “Daddy’s Home” starts off well with a guy being tricked into snorting the ashes of his date’s cremated father, but ultimately lands a little flat, again showing its ideas to be undeveloped.

It’s a shame, since although Cornack’s comedy isn’t for everyone – as the Host says in his opening monologue “You may laugh, you may get offended… that’s the whole fucking point” – at its best he hits a queasy balance between crudity and transcendence. Too bad then that, this time at least, this juggling act isn’t maintained consistently.

Tim Coleman

⭐️⭐️⭐️

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