Director: Andrew J. Kuehn                
William Callaway, William Bronder, Jeannie Linero

Sometimes you have to admire low budget filmmakers not just for their gall, but for their ambition as well. Flush is a movie where at least you have to be impressed by this. That is because this movie is nothing but a blatant rip-off of It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World. An incredibly blatant rip-off. And It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World was hardly a cheap movie to make, so you have to at least be impressed by the fact the filmmakers here were determined to pull it off with the little money they had. Well, they did complete the movie, but when the most the movie offers at once is a race involving three cars and one airplane - and with only one or two occupants in each of these transportation vehicles - it can't help but be kind of underwhelming to watch. Especially when the highway the cars and the bouncing airplane are racing on is obviously an abandoned runway the production team lucked on finding. (Lucky for them, not us.)

And as I said, that's the highlight of the movie. Flush is a painful comedy, one where you would feel embarrassment for the actors if you weren't feeling such hostility towards their characters. The whole movie is incredibly, unbelievably unfunny. Oh, I admit it - there was one honest attempt at humor during the course of the movie that I laughed at. It was the gag in the nightclub kitchen involving a gun stuck on someone's finger. That was fairly clever. And I admit that I was so starved for laughs, I chuckled occasionally at some attempts at humor obviously conjured up during post production (where no doubt the filmmakers saw what a lousy film they had.) These attempts at humor come from the peculiar noises that are dubbed in. There are a few chicken clucks at some random bits, we hear the MOOOO! of a cow when we see a woman with big breasts, and when drawers are opened in an old crumbling building, we hear the shrieks and howls of the kind you heard from those haunted house sound F/X records you listened to as a kid. There are also noises blurting on the soundtrack when one of the characters says one of the many naughty words in the script (and there are many.) For example, when gas station owner Mr. Rosewater shrieks, "No gas, no piss!" at a couple who have stopped at his station so she can use the facilities, a cartoon PLOP! noise is mixed in his utterance of "piss". As you can imagine, it gets tired pretty quickly when we keep hearing BOING!, SCREECH!, HONK!, etc. when one of the characters utters a naughty word. It can't be censorship, because not only can we still hear the words mixed with the cartoon sounds, the sound editor didn't bother to "censor" half of the countless dirty words the actors utter, including some of the more harsher language.

Speaking of the character of Mr. Rosewater, Flush makes the same mistake that IAMMMMW made: unsympathetic characters. The difference is that in IAMMMMW, the characters could be funny - Phil Silvers' dirty-dealing character was always funny, and I still get a laugh thinking about the fist fight between the Englishman and the American he was with. So although there were no characters in IAMMMMW I definitely wanted to see get the treasure, a number of the characters still had a lovable side to them. The same can't be said for virtually all of the characters in Flush. Not only do they constantly spout off four-lettered words, they are mean, vicious, and cruel. A feeling of hostility almost seems to be pouring out of their ears. They are all so unlikable, at the end of the movie there seems to be no logic as to the fate each character gets. If the characters were rearranged to their fates, there would be no real difference. It's strange what the movie does to the two promising characters (a construction worker and a mortician), who are introduced later in the movie. Though they are not really funny, at least the actors playing them put a little life into these character, and they are not especially annoying. So what does the movie do with them? It has them written out long before the movie ends. I have to wonder if the real reason they were written out was because of budgetary concerns.

Another thing I object to the characters in the movie is that they are frequently unimaginative and offensive stereotypes. An interlude in a gay bar has a guy dressed in drag and talking as precious as Rex Reed, and the Mexicans that appear when the action goes south of the border are shown as mustache-sporting overweight dimwits or as siesta-sleeping peasants in sombreros. There is some promise with the introduction of the Bulgarian hijacker, but he is just saddled with the tiresome comic device of mangling the English language ("What is fat idea?", "In game of life, I play by myself alone", and the inevitable mention of "jacking off".) Speaking of bad humor, there are an incredible number of gags to do with excrement, many provided by one of the people in the chase driving a truck full of raw sewage. The driver of this honey wagon squirts this sewage on the windshield of a pursuing car not just once, but twice in the movie, and no part of the process is hidden from our eyes.

Four paragraphs have gone by, and I haven't even got to describing the plot of the movie. As I've previously stated, it's a rip-off of IAMMMMW. In 1952, billionaire William Randolph Hughes (ha ha) placed several boxes around the American southwest, burying the first box with the instructions, "Each box has instructions to the next," with the promise of his lost fortune at the end. It's interesting that except for the first box (uncovered when Mr. Rosewater's septic tank - yeah, you guessed it -  blows up) and for one encased in a giant avocado (don't ask), the other boxes are in plain view by the people who have them in their businesses and have never opened them, even though they knew they belonged to Hughes. Unbelievable? Well, how about believing that the movie has the gall to copy the discovery-of-the-giant-"W" from IAMMMMW, substituting a giant "X" instead, and somehow manages to direct the discovery of the giant letter in the most inept fashion possible? How about production values that allow the antenna of the camera car to stick in very noticeably into the frame? A variety of bizarre "wipes" from one scene to another? An ending that doesn't feel finished? Though I have seen plenty of bad movies, I think I would have had a hard enough time believing all of this had I not seen the movie for myself.

Check for availability on Amazon (VHS)

See also: Fire Sale, Let It Ride, Tycus