Postal (2007)

Rating: D

Dir: Uwe Boll
Star:  Zack Ward, Dave Foley, Chris Coppola, Jackie Tohn

Whoever said Germans have no sense of humour? Must be someone who’d watched this largely dreadful exercise in bad taste. It opens with the 9/11 hijackers debating the number of virgins they get after dying, and when they call Osama and are disappointed with the answer, decide to fly to the Bahamas instead – until the passengers charge into the cockpit, causing the plane to crash into the Twin Towers. Oh, hold my aching sides. About the only thing going for it is no-one will accuse the script of being prejudiced: it hates everyone. Rednecks, Muslims, even Germans – it’s nothing if not an equal-opportunity offender.

The story, such as it is, centres on a nameless guy (Ward), who lives in a trailer park with his immense, unfaithful wife, and has a generally wretched life. He goes to see his Uncle Dave (Foley), who is running a scam religion, but needs $1.7 million immediately, to fend off the IRS. They decide to steal a shipment of highly collectible penis-shaped dolls from the Little Germany theme-park, at an event where the special guest is Verne Troyer (a.k.a. Mini Me), unaware that Al Qaeda are intent on using the same dolls as part of a terrorist plot.

I laughed twice. I don’t mind broad humour – hell, I come from the land of pantomime and Carry On films – but this is juvenile to a painful degree; and, worse, just not funny. It’s crude parody, and is so patently trying to be offensive, that it largely fails to do so – for example, Foley straining, at length, to take a dump, while the hero watches and listens, embarrassed, nearby. The yawning gulf between this and truly scathing cinematic satire, such as Mike Judge or the South Park guys, is obvious in almost every sequence.

But, for the record, let me detail the two occasions on which I laughed out loud – and, admittedly, that’s more than some Hollywood comedies. The first was when Boll himself, as the owner of Little Germany, told someone critical of his venue, that his grandfather died in Auschwitz – he fell from a guard tower. Yes, it’s a very old joke, but hearing it told by am actual German, with obvious relish, enhances the shock value immeasurably. The other was a throwaway moment, where the hero uses a Persian cat as an impromptu silencer – though no cats were harmed in that particular scene. Even Uwe has his limits, it would appear.