Big Money Rustlas – Movie Review
What a year it’s been for the Insane Clown Posse. For a group that’s been putting out albums since 1992, they’ve never been more visible or begrudgingly respected by the same mainstream they’ve existed in opposition to for years. Starting with the 2009 Gathering of the Juggalos informercial, the group have had both an ABC ‘Nightline’ feature and the viral explosion of their song “Miracles” resulting in the biggest hit of their career. They’ve been parodied (twice) on Saturday Night Live, featured in an episode of Adult Swim’s ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’ and even landed on the cover of this week’s Village Voice. What better way to cap off a banner year than
almost murdering Tila Tequila releasing a full length motion picture?! Oh, and it’s a Western. And it’s not good. Or fun. At all.
I know, I’m no Juggalo and therefor not necessarily the target audience for this film BUT I have a certain respect for Joseph “Violent J” Bruce and Joseph “Shaggy 2 Dope” Utsler, and an fascination with Juggalo culture not unlike Jane Goodall with the apes. The non-facepainted lineups of their annual Gatherings have featured some of my favorite rappers of all time (Scarface, Ice Cube, Redman) and I’m no stranger to being looked down on for loving rap music and drinking bargain-bin soda, so if these kids have a “family” they feel at home with and music that makes their lives better that most people wouldn’t even give a chance to, good for them. I’ve caught my share of
flocka flack over the years for being a Juvenile fan in a Kweli-district, so I can surely empathize. But regardless what you think of their music, J and Shaggs are entertaining media personalities. From their unaware self-aware wrestling promotion to their first motion picture, Big Money Hu$tlas, a genuinely funny send-up of direct-to-video “hood” movies, they’ve brought a share of wicked clown smiles to my face over the years. But much of the charm from those endeavors came from Violent J’s honest-to-gosh gift for comedic timing. Now, for the first time, the Psychopathic braintrust constructed an extravagant set and wrote a painfully detailed script in efforts to make their ten-years-in-the-making feature length film Big Money Rustlas their magnus opus. What results is the clown posse at their most restricted and predictable.
The story follows Sheriff Sugar-Wolf (2 Dope), a prodigal son who has returned home to the town of Mudbug to be the new sheriff. Also in the town is Big Baby Chips, the organized crime kingpin who is concerned with Sugar-Wolf “f***ing” with his “mother-f***ing money.” I say “also in the town” because at no point in the film does it seem that Sugar-Wolf is “f***ing” with his “mother-f***ing money” in any way. They’re two stories that only intersect when Chips decides to start sending in assassins to take Sugar-Wolf out. This leads to the only genuinely laugh-out-loud sequence in the film when (from 5:53 – 8:12 in the following clip) Sugar-Wolf has to stop a dreaded henchman named The Ghost (played by Psychopathic’s southern rapper Boondox) and much welcomed “Magnets?”-level hilarity ensues.
But the over-the-topness of that scene is missing from the rest of the film, replaced by a series of forced catchphrases, tired running gags and performances that somehow irritate and bore at the same time. While the production values are high, the duo and director Paul Andreson’s script doesn’t match the promising heights presented in the admittedly awesomely-curious trailer. This makes the tremendous cameos list suffer from squandering every bit of entertainment value they could possibly have. And when I say cameos, I’m not referring to the expected returns of Twiztid-members Jamie Madrox and Monoxide Child playing uninspired rehashes (re: “ancestors”) of their characters from the first film or the endless number of one-off affiliate appearances (members of Kottonmouth Kings show up to yell something and then leave), but this star-studded guestlist that turns Big Money Rustlas into a parade of the “really?” Joining our heroes are Jason Mewes (Jay of “Jay and Silent Bob”-fame), Porn’s Ron Jeremy and Bridget the Midget, Brigitte Nielson, Dustin Diamond, Todd Bridges, Tom Sizemore, Vanilla Ice, Jimmy “J.J.” Walker (of “DYNO-MITE!”-yelling fame*), and Wrestling’s Scott Hall, Jimmy Hart and Sabu. I know on paper this is reading more and more like a delightful romp into the Dark Carnival’s wild west, but it’s just not good. On the plus side, however, the DVD DOES contain extras such as the “Miracles” video and commercials like this:
Big Money Rustlas‘ greatest flaw is that it tries too hard to be something it’s not, and in the world of ICP that’s a cardinal sin. While a post-Tim and Eric world does make for whip-cracking sounds when eyes blink or a computer-generated penis added to a female horse in order to show it urinating to be funnier, the film largely seems like the duo studied the beats from their favorite comedy movies and followed them far too close for comfort. The audio commentary on 2000’s Big Money Hu$tlas had Violent J expressing his love of improv, which were far and away the highlights of that film. Here, there’s none of that, so whether you were looking to laugh-with or laugh-at the Posse, the disappointing Big Money Rustlas is no laughing matter.
We give Big Money Rustlas a Two Out of Five
So until next time…let’s agree to agree!
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