Trash Humpers

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You can take Harmony Korine’s latest film to task for plenty of transgressions: mistaking willful incoherence for free-form profundity; the worshipful wallowing in Vice Magazine scuzziness in the name of avant-street cred; trying to pass off vintage, butt-ugly analog visuals as some sort of viral found-footage anarchy. (Throw a coin in a room full of critics—we kindly ask that you aim for their heads—and you’ll hit one that praises the movie for these exact same qualities.) But what you can’t accuse this Dadaist America’s Funniest Home Videos of doing is peddling false advertising; you will indeed see trash being humped, repeatedly, by Korine, his wife and several buddies in grotesque geriatric masks. Plus, there’s wanton destruction of TV sets—viva vandalism!—spastic tap dancing, and real-life American Gothic eccentrics spewing racist bile. Awesome.

Korine’s strength has always been finding odd moments of poetry in backwoods perversity (see Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy), a talent that’s AWOL from this extended YouTube experiment until the surprisingly tender final shot. But by that point, viewers have been subjected to one long, screeching exercise whose point is its sheer pointlessness. Once, we got a mustache on the Mona Lisa and a urinal in a gallery; now we get Trash Humpers. If this is what passes for contemporary art terrorism, we’ll opt instead for something truly subversive—like genuine art.—David Fear

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