Koch Vision // 2004 // 80 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 22nd, 2005
Can one hot EPA agent bring down this mutant horny toad?
Sadly, this movie isn't nearly as cool as its tagline suggests.
Dr. Barbara Michaels (Kristi Russell) is a renowned EPA agent, hot on the trail of some mysterious pollution ravaging a small southern town. In her sights is the oily chemical manufacturer Huntley Grimes (Michael McConnohie), a legendary polluter who's been able to avoid EPA detection for decades now. Unbeknownst to Dr. Michaels and the rest of the town, Grimes has been dumping his toxic waste in a barren piece of land that happens to be linked to a vital water source for the town. The sludge, of course, affects the genetic codes of animals, and the resulting monstrosity is a giant, bipedal mutant frog, with a lust for human females.
The responsibility of stopping this marauding, horny frog falls to Michaels, her lesbian lover, and the disbelieving Sheriff Buford Lawson (Rob Brink). Can they prevent the frog from injecting its mutant seed into hapless women, or will everyone just lose interest?
Writer-director Cody Jarrett admits in the making-of feature that he wanted his movie to hearken back to the days of Z-movie drive-in classics. Well, points for trying. On paper, Frog-g-g! seems like a cult winner:
Cheap-looking costumed creature? check!
Multiple breast shots? check!
Incredulous local authorities? check!
Slimy toxic-waste-dumping CEO? check!
Illicit sex with aforementioned cheap-looking costumed creature? check!
Goofy twist ending? check!
Exclamation point in the title? check!
The final product is, unfortunately, a mixed bag of stupid jokes, poor writing, tedious pacing, horrible acting, and a handful of fun moments. I wanted to like this movie, really. I love that the creature is just some guy in a frog costume, and Jarrett certainly has no reluctance to get his actresses naked and copulating with anthropomorphic amphibians. But the thing just doesn't float.
Frog-g-g! is a schlocky comedy before anything else. There is no gore or gross-out gags, and the visual effects are nil. As a parody of drive-in creature features, the film needs a solid base of humor to stand on. But the writing lacks wit, and the laughs come courtesy of the outlandish scenes of a giant frog running around a football game and menacing topless women (not that there's anything wrong with that, but those kinds of sequences are few and far between). The flick also grinds to a halt any time we have to endure the musings of "scientist" Barbara Michaels, who seems to have received her doctorate in Advanced Wearing of Cleavage-Revealing Outfits. It would have been entertaining to watch her stumble through the incoherent biology pep talks if the movie didn't try to play the exposition straight. Basically, too much time was spent in the lab trying to convince the dopey sheriff of impending doom and not enough in mutant frog zaniness, which is what we all paid to see.
Which leads me to my main gripe -- too little frog action! Our creature doesn't show up at all until more than a third of the way into the movie, and from then on, his appearances are limited and underwhelming (save for the covert intercourse gag). Come on, dude! The movie is called Frog-g-g!, not Talk-k-k!. Lay some super-terrific croaking action on us!
This is actually a nice-looking disc for such a low-budget release. The movie sports a nice anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer. Colors are strong, and the overall look is sharp. The sound is nothing to write home to the lily pad about, though, a front-loaded Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track that does little with the (albeit brief) frog action.
A nifty little behind-the-scenes feature on the making of Frog-g-g! is the lone extra of note (besides some trailers). Interviews with the cast and crew are intermingled with on-set footage and deleted scenes.
You've gotta love Dr. Michaels jettisoning her crack scientific know-how in the climactic showdown with the frog, and opting instead to tear open her blouse and flash her breasts. That university-taught analytical thinking sure came in handy.
Hey, Cody Jarrett, I'm in your corner all the way, but I'm just not completely down with your homage to exploitation movies. Frog-g-g! does have some fun moments that live up to its pedigree, but the finished product is just too flawed to elevate it into the realm of memorable cult classics.
The court is bummed out about it, but yes, Frog-g-g! kind of Sucks-s-s!.
Review content copyright © 2005 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Koch Vision
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Making-of Documentary
* Cast and Crew Interviews
* Deleted Scenes