If "Outrageous Animation" (at the Nuart) were truly outrageous, this collection of international short films would be a lot more entertaining than it is.
But these shorts aren't "grossly offensive or shamefully immoral" (Webster's definition); they're merely puerile and vulgar. Sitting through this anthology of junior high locker-room gags about excrement, guts, toilets and genitalia--the cinematic equivalent of "Totally Gross Jokes"--will bore, rather than shock or scandalize, anyone over 14.
The bathroom plumbing revolts against the "abuse" it receives from a badly drawn fat man in "Royal Flush" (U.S.) by John McIntyre. A bald man goes out on a limb to seek a very literal revenge on a bird who soiled his head in Aleksander Sroczynski's "Vice Versa" (Poland). The title character in Danny Antonucci's "Lupo the Butcher" (Canada) hacks himself apart with a cleaver while screaming a string of profanities that would offend the participants at a stag smoker.
The films are as lacking in technical polish as they are in good taste: Bruno Bozzetto's awkward attempt at blending drawn animation and live action in "Striptease" (Italy) makes the achievements of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" look doubly impressive. Guido Manuli's inept timing destroys what little humor the jokes in "Erection" (Italy) ever possessed. The clay animation in Peter Mudie's "Great British Moments" (England/Australia) barely approaches the level of a student film.
Animation can be both truly outrageous and effective, but the producers at Expanded Entertainment have chosen scatological jokes over films that make strong artistic or political statements. The viewer looks in vain for the absurdist wit of Paul Driessen's "Elbow Game" (Canada), the graphic anger of Geoff Dunbar's "Ubu" (Great Britain) or the gritty intensity of Ralph Bakshi's "Heavy Traffic" (U.S.).
Since they began distributing the International Tournee of Animation three years ago, the people at Expanded have sought to increase the public perception of animation as a legitimate art form: This program should set their efforts back by at least a decade. "Outrageous Animation" is something you're more likely to scrape off the bottom of your shoe than watch on a theater screen.