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Postal *
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Rossiter Drake*

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Bosom buddies? Bush and "Sammy" bin Laden make strange bedfellows in Postal.

POSTAL
(Courtesy of SFStation.com)

Starring: Zack Ward, Dave Foley, Chris Coppola, Jackie Tohn, J.K. SImmons. Rated R.

Uwe Boll is tired of the abuse. The man popularly dismissed by Internet pundits as “the worst filmmaker in the world” earned a new nickname – “Raging Boll” – in September 2006, when he faced off against five of his most vociferous critics in the boxing ring, beating them all into bloody submission, if not some newfound appreciation of his films.

Boll’s greatest sin? According to his most ardent detractors, it’s that his movies, so often based on ultra-violent video games, misrepresent the spirit of their source material. That’s debatable, but what’s not so debatable is that his productions, hastily thrown together and frequently underfinanced, are as shoddy in appearance as they are crude and bizarre. They are sometimes laughably wrongheaded (Alone in the Dark, In the Name of the King) but thanks to Boll’s anarchic sensibilities, rarely dull.

Inspired loosely by the controversial 2003 computer game, Postal would be more of the same if not for Boll’s decision to embrace the comedy inherent in his feather-brained tributes to testosterone. Yes, it’s tasteless – witness the opening shot of an airliner crashing into the World Trade Center as two hijackers consider changing course for the Bahamas – but there are a few genuine laughs mired in the manic muck.

Despite Boll’s reputation – his highest-rated film on the Rotten Tomatoes website boasts an 11 percent approval rating – he has never had trouble rounding up recognizable talent, which might explain the presence of Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall), J.K. Simmons (Juno) and even celebrity midget Verne Troyer, playing himself, in Postal. Even so, the film belongs to Zack Ward as the Postal Dude, who leaves his Paradise, Ariz., trailer park in hopes of landing a job and winds up at the center of a bloody search for Osama bin Laden.

Ward, whom some might recall as the red-headed bully from A Christmas Story, is hardly a revelation here, but he seems affable enough when he’s not splattering right-wing religious zealots and assorted small-town crazies. Even Boll makes a tongue-in-cheek appearance as himself, if only to vocalize his contempt for video games and the button-mashers who mock his movies.

Is it funny? Not really, but it has isolated flashes of inspiration, none more true-to-life than Ward’s deliciously inane job interview with Hostel’s Rick Hoffman. (“How would you move a mountain using only a spoon?”) Elsewhere, the film is a jumbled, needlessly violent mess, sloppily edited and feckless in its attempts at political satire.

Yes, it closes with a shot of bin Laden and Dubya frolicking in a field, skipping along hand-in-hand just before an atom bomb reduces them to so much post-apocalyptic mulch. It’s a subversive image, I suppose, but what’s the point? Like the rest of Postal, it wants to be shocking, but it’s far too superficial to elicit anything more than bewilderment.

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