Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 11 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Directed by: Greg Franklin
Written by: Dave Jeser & Matt Silverstein
Voices of: Jess Harnell, Cree Summer, James Arnold Taylor, Adam Carolla, Tara Strong, Abbey DiGregorio, Jack Plotnick, Seth McFarlane & Vernon Wells
From 2004 to 2007, an animated adult comedy series under the title of DRAWN TOGETHER aired on Comedy Central. It was controversial, twisted, wrong on all levels, but also hilarious in its own sick way. Where SOUTH PARK stopped, DRAWN TOGETHER would start. They were living on borrowed time with all the explicit content and the satirical series was cancelled. Needless to say that the avid fan base (myself included) were disappointed. The cast members describe the show as “Bad. Really bad, but awesome.” or “There is no envelope.” Those descriptions were pretty dead on accurate and it’s not hard to see why the series was cancelled. It seems to have been a miracle that it even lasted three full seasons over the period of four years. However, Comedy Central granted the creators a film to wrap everything up.
Now, I am faced with a fine line that I wish not to stray too far from either way. On one hand, I love DRAWN TOGETHER. I’ve loved the series ever since I first laid eyes on it. It has stood the test of time with me and I still burst out laughing (sometimes, so hard that I’m crying) while watching my DVDs boxsets. On the other hand, I take criticizing films very seriously and if I let my nostalgia for the show cloud my judgment of the film, then this wouldn’t be a very honest review. THE DRAWN TOGETHER MOVIE: THE MOVIE! is a creation for fans of the series and purely just that. If this is your first introduction to the show, then you’ll probably won’t like it too much. Even as a fan of the show, I did still find problems with the movie itself.
For those who are unaware, the premise of DRAWN TOGETHER was an animated reality series about eight different cartoon characters from different worlds that live together under one roof, surrounded by thousands of cameras. This being said chaos ensued in many episodes. The story of this movie begins with residents of the household waking up to a seemingly normal day. However, Foxxy Love (a mystery solving musician, in the vein of SCOOBY DOO) finds that she can swear without being bleeped, unlike the censoring of what would happen on regular television programming. This leads to the discovery that their show has been cancelled, unbeknownst to them. With the help of Suck-My-Taint girl (the star of the show that replaced DRAWN TOGETHER, done in a clearly SOUTH PARK style of animation), the gang must find a point for their disgusting nature to get back on the air and avoid a killer robot (not so subtly named I.S.R.A.E.L.) on a mission to erase them from existence.
First things first, this film is shot on half of the budget of a single episode of the series. This means some cuts were made, mainly in the animation department. The series had a really cool looking style to go with the dark humor covering tons of taboo subjects. So the controversial decision of using flash animation had to be made and was the only possible way that the film was going to see the light of day. I wish I could say that it wasn’t distracting or annoying in places, but it is. For most of the character, it isn’t noticeable. However, the looks of Xandir and Princess Clara make it very clear that there were some monetary cuts. The original voice cast is back and the new characters are notable as well. I especially dug that the DRAWN TOGETHER MOVIE plot is about the creators therapeutically getting their emotions about the cancellation of the series out in this film.
Throughout the story, the fourth wall isn’t just broken. It’s completely shattered, defecated on, and shoved in the viewer’s face. You really have to be a fan of DRAWN TOGETHER to find this movie funny. It’s not like the creators were making something fit for the big screen. Instead, they were looking for closure to the series. It feels more like a series finale than a movie, which is actually quite enjoyable. It does make for one specific target audience though. So you have to know if you like the series before watching this film.
Of the 36 episodes of DRAWN TOGETHER, there were only four episodes that I never found to be funny (two-parter and two separate clip shows). When the writers were on the right track, they knocked it out of the park. When they missed, they missed by a mile and focused on some unfunny shock value, rather than hilariously sick jokes. One problem with THE DRAWN TOGETHER MOVIE is that some of the jokes miss and these are mainly in the latter part of the film. It’s a bit disappointing to see it start with so much momentum and then become a little tiresome before it ends.
On the good side of things, there are plenty of jokes that will make fans laugh. All of the dark humor is still intact and seeing as this is a straight-to-video film, the creators were given free rein to do whatever they wanted without fear of censorship. I would be surprised if THE DRAWN TOGETHER MOVIE: THE MOVIE! didn’t get an NC-17 rating from the MPAA. It’s crude beyond measure. Showing all sorts of gruesome violence, sexual depravity, and pure nastiness in a period of 71 minutes. I laughed, but I felt bad for laughing at certain points (kind of like many episodes of the show). If you’re going to Hell, you might as well be laughing on the way down. That’s how I can best describe the enjoyment one receives from DRAWN TOGETHER (both the series and this movie).
Rape, abortion, murder, abusive relationships, necrophilia, and a whole lot of racist stereotypes are all part of the jokes in THE DRAWN TOGETHER MOVIE: THE MOVIE! There are plenty of jabs made at sensitive topics that I didn’t even bother to mention. This is one profane piece of work and it’s everything that one might expect from a film of DRAWN TOGETHER. It’s not high art, nor was it ever meant to be. SOUTH PARK tackles perverse subject matter in far more clever ways, but that was never the point of this show. DRAWN TOGETHER was about having mindless fun with dirty subject matter. This movie may have problems (some flat jokes, a slightly disappointing climax, and some cheap looking animation) that keep it down from what it could have been, but I’m glad to see the series get some closure. If you’re a fan of DRAWN TOGETHER, you’ll most likely dig this. Others may seem it as unsavory trash, but the cult fan base will appreciate THE DRAWN TOGETHER MOVIE: THE MOVIE! as a genuinely funny feature-length series finale that dares to go in territory that most wouldn’t dare touch.