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Bad Johnson (2014) Review

Retitled “Schlong Story” for the UK (like that’s an improvement), not even its zany premise and a new title is enough to save this miscast, misogynist misfire.

Rich Johnson (Cam Gigandet), a serial womaniser just can’t help ruining one relationship after another. One day he glibly wishes his dick would stop getting him into trouble, and he wakes up to find out his wish has been ironically granted: his penis has mysteriously left his body and taken human form (Nick Thune).

The writer may have been planning a comedy when he wrote this but the cast and director (Huck Botko) seem completely unaware of it. Instead of aiming for a crass, gross-out lowbrow laugh-fest they seem to think they’re making a quirky and thoughtfully satirical indie dramedy. Regrettably, they have nothing insightful or interesting to say about men, masculinity or fidelity beyond the one-note dick joke.

This is exactly the kind of high concept that can be brilliantly, outrageously funny in the right hands. The likes of Trey Parker and Matt Stone would have knocked this out of the park. Hell, even Dane Cook would have knocked this up a notch (although I say that as someone with a bit of a soft spot for “Good Luck Chuck” – possibly my guiltiest cinematic pleasure) but it needed more energy and edge than it has to make it, well, rise to the occasion.

For a movie with such a whacky premise, nobody seems to be having fun with “Bad Johnson”, not even the guy who plays the personification of an actual dick. It’s a pretty easy joke to describe the end result as flaccid, but that’s exactly what it is. For an idea which clearly started with the thought ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if…’, it turns out the answer is ‘no’.