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FILM REVIEW : 'Gross Out': Not for the Faint-Hearted

April 06, 1990|KEVIN THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Gross Out" more than lives up to its title. (It plays Fridays and Saturdays at midnight at the Ritz, the ex-Pussycat on Hollywood Boulevard.)

There's no actual sex and little violence in this low-budget ($25,000) effort, but the humor, verbal as well as visual, deals primarily with bodily functions and scarcely could be coarser. Although "Gross Out" is fundamentally innocuous, it is thunderingly, gleefully tasteless--and thus a natural for midnight venues. It's definitely not for the squeamish.

The film is as artless as a home movie, but a director (Janus Alucard Stelloff), a writer (Phillip P. Pillsbury) and a cinematographer (Joseph Bado) are actually credited. The premise is exceedingly simple: The revolting Mother Wheezer (Susie Campbell) challenges her three worthless adult stepchildren (played by Dino Lee, Frank Fears and Diane Nelson) to make a video so repellent that it will revolt even her. If they succeed, they'll receive $28 million from their late father's estate; if they fail, the money will go to the homeless.

Much of "Gross Out" is funny in a scabrous, admittedly juvenile way, but the filmmakers find themselves repeating their bathroom jokes long before their 83-minute movie is over. There's some playing around with both black and gay stereotypes, with the first sent up far more effectively than the second. At least the homophobic brother played by Lee gets his just deserts by the finish.

'GROSS OUT'

A Pipedream Production. Director Janus Alucard Stelloff. Screenplay Phillip P. Pillsbury. Camera Joseph Bado. Music Dino Lee. With Dino Lee, Frank Fears, Susie Campbell, Diane Nelson, Spike Li, Joe Vazquez.

Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes.

Times-rated: Mature.

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