VOD Review - Naked (2017)

It's odd seeing Marlon Wayans in a movie that's not actively spoofing some other movie. His co-writers and particularly his director Michael Tiddes made two previous films that were spoofs. Fifty Shades of Black (2016) was a spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey and A Haunted House (2013) was a spoof of Paranormal Activity. This movie as constructed functions like a lot of Wayans' spoofs, which remakes the film but exaggerates every moment and drops in tons of toilet humor and sex jokes, but there are some differences here. Instead of remaking a well-known property, this time Wayans is remaking an obscure, Swedish film called Naken (2000). The movie by MÃ¥rten Knutsson and Torkel Knutsson follows a man who wakes up completely nude in a hotel elevator on his wedding day but is caught in a time loop where he has to keep waking up nude over and over. Instead of having to exaggerate or add much, the toilet humor and sex jokes are inherent. If anything, Wayans doesn't add but subtracts some of the humor and jokes from the original.

The first thing Wayans subtracts is the full-frontal male nudity. Henrik Norberg who starred in the Swedish film had no problem with showing his penis. Wayans apparently does have a problem with showing his penis, despite having a very sexy body, so any wide-shots of Wayans' nude form have his hands covering his genitalia. There are obvious moments when he can't and Tiddes makes sure to frame the camera shot so that we don't see his pubic area. Either the shot never goes below his waist or something like a pot of flowers is strategically placed to block his lower half. Knutsson's camera wasn't so shy and in one scene puts Norberg's pubic area in full, close-up view. There's something courageous about that and cowardly about this.

In Fifty Shades of Black, Wayans does show a penis attached to his body. It's simply not his own. It's a prosthetic. The joke is to portray a micro-penis, a joke stolen from Adam Scott in The Overnight (2015). Wayans shows every other square-inch of his skin and the idea is the trouble he encounters while running around in public with no clothes on, which is actually a joke Wayans stole from himself and his starring role in Senseless (1998). He was running around nude in that film and it's apparent that in nearly 20 years, he hasn't aged a day. His face and body look exactly the same.

Some other jokes he subtracts that were in the Knutsson film is the gag of the nude man having to use the bathroom and having to find awkward places to urinate. There's also a gag in the Knutsson film where the nude man finds a condom in his rectum, which suggests certain things in the time in which he was drunk and couldn't recall his actions. In the 2000 film, the condom intimates an encounter with a gay man whom we see wearing a purple robe with feathers. Wayans' version cuts the gay character but nods to him when Wayans grabs the same robe to cover himself.

The rest of the humor is derived from the same kind of gags and jokes in Groundhog Day (1993). Instead of a whole day, Wayans' character has a hour that he has to relive over and over, so this is more like "Groundhog Hour." It limits all that can happen, but in a way it super concentrates the movie's focus. It doesn't really allow for the movie or characters to breath once it gets going and it's fueled by the fervent energy that Wayans typically brings. Of all the Wayans siblings, Marlon Wayans can be the boldest, the loudest and most in-your-face. He's tempered here but if you're not taken with his particular charm, the movie might not work for you.

I adore pure and nude, Marlon Wayans, so the movie worked for me, even though I didn't really buy his character arc. His character's ambivalence about taking a teaching job and him being late one time aren't enough to establish the so-called need for the time loop. It's a crutch that isn't significant. It's just a gimmick for a comedy vehicle that lives or dies based on the performer who I would argue is just as, if not more attractive than Bill Murray was. Regina Hall (Scary Movie and Girls Trip) is not really given anything funny here, but she's mostly giving a dramatic performance. Everyone else around her though is funny. Dennis Haysbert (24) plays her stern, disapproving father. Scott Foley (Scandal) plays her wealthy and smug ex-boyfriend. Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings) plays her snarky bridesmaid, so I dug it.

Rated TV-14.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 36 mins.

Available on Netflix.


Popular Posts