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Case Number 24131: Small Claims Court

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Captain Slickpants

BPO Films // 2012 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // July 14th, 2012

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All Rise...

During the rainy season, Appellate Judge Tom Becker makes it a point to get his captain slickerpants out of storage.

The Charge

Looking so slick never looked like this…

The Case

Captain Slickpants is an amusing, unpretentious little no-budget indie. Despite the title, there's nothing "slick" about the film, from a technical or story standpoint; that's OK, though, as director/writer/star Ben Dietels avoids the overreach of so many DIY filmmakers and just offers up something simple and fun.

Gregg (Dietels) is a weird young man who lives alone in a house he inherited from his grandmother. Apparently, Gregg has but one ambition in life: to win a date with the lovely Vanessa (Danielle Dietels), a waitress at the local coffee shop. Just as he works up the nerve to ask her out, she announces that she's found a new job. Gregg chokes. He'll never see her again.

But fate intervenes when Vanessa, on her way home, drops her wallet in the parking lot and Gregg finds it. Now, he has an excuse to talk to her away from the clanking of dishes and constant stream of coffee.

But fate intervenes again, and this time, the gods are not on Gregg's side: Vanessa's wallet is stolen from his car. So he enlists his friend Steven (Ryan Lintner) to help him track down the precious artifact.

But it won't be easy. The wallet thief is an athletic sort on a bicycle. And Gregg and Steven are not exactly the intrepid types.

Captain Slickpants has a definite "home movie" feel to it, but that makes sense, since it's basically a home movie—there are more people named Dietels in this film than there are Corleones in The Godfather. It's a goofy thing, and silly, but endearingly so, and much of it actually pretty funny. Occasionally, Dietels and company go off the rails; a visit to the wrong house yields a bizarre scene that feels off-kilter with the otherwise low-impact weirdness that the film offers.

At 95 minutes, the film goes on a bit long. Dietels could have trimmed a few of the many chase sequences and offered a tighter product. Even better, he might have considered making Captain Slickpants a short, maybe around 40 minutes, and paired it with a second short; entertaining as it all is, it does overstay its welcome, and while the punchline/resolution is clever, it does take a bit longer than it should to get there.

But it's fun, funny, and occasionally inventive, with some welcome touches of black humor. Everyone seems to be having a good time, and it shows. For a first effort, Dietels has made a film that should please those who go in expecting goofy, light entertainment.

Tech-wise, the film looks fine in its low-budget way, though audio is sometimes a problem. Background noises occasionally make the dialogue difficult to hear; the soundtrack (by the Demon Beat) often blares; and if two characters are talking and they're not standing right next to each other, one's voice is far lower than the other; Dietels really needs to either get better mixing equipment or consider a little overdubbing. For supplements, we get a commentary with the director and actors and a preview of another film Dietels is making.

The Verdict

Captain Slickpants might not be the greatest story ever told, but it's done well enough and contains enough silliness to make it worth a watch. The disc's available at the official website, listed in the sidebar.

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 78

Perp Profile

Studio: BPO Films
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Comedy
• Independent

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Preview


• IMDb
• Official Site

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