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Bobo Touch Helpline: The Kisser

Critic:

Patrick Foley

|

Posted on:

14 Jan 2022

Film Reviews
Bobo Touch Helpline: The Kisser
Directed by:
Brian Bonz & Mike Rizzo
Written by:
Brian Bonz
Starring:
Brian Bonz, Mike Rizzo, Nicholas M. Garofolo

Quirky, surrealist comedies walk a fine line between laugh-inducing absurdist farce, and edgy ‘sO rAnDuM XD!!’ try-hardism. Usually, the line parallels with a deeper meaning behind the humour – those with tending to fare better than those designed to be weird for the sake of it. I can’t quite identify anything substantial in the subtext of The Kisser, an episode of web series Bobo Touch Helpline, but the performances of its stars salvage this short from being an easily discardable oddity.

 

A mysterious creep is stalking the New York subway planting kisses on unsuspecting cheeks, and horrifyingly, dropping cockroaches into the open mouths of sleeping passengers. The Bobo touch helpline, a ragtag team handling the strange and unusual cases the police can’t solve, decide to take on the case. But tracking ‘the kisser’ may take the services of a hardened criminal associate, whose methods are beyond the team’s imagination…

 

As an episode of the Bobo Helpline web series, The Kisser does an admirable job of taking pre-established characters and allowing the comedic talents of its performers to flourish. The plot is ridiculous, but this is to be expected. It is the charisma, confidence and charm of stars Brian Bonz, Mike Rizzo, Nicholas Garofolo and Mike Strandberg which really sell this episode (and their extravagant array of wigs and facial hair). The performers project a real sense of warmth into a truly bizarre concept which could have otherwise descended into uncomfortable or awkward territory. The troupe have echoes of The Lonely Island in how they expertly embrace the inanity and command the buy-in from the audience.

 

The episode suffers when the main cast are not on screen however, with an uninteresting plot which aims for little more than advancing story progression. ‘The Kisser’ himself is a relatively uninteresting antagonist, and his bizarre relationship with his mother (Bonnie Schneider) is frustratingly unexplored. His methods exist seemingly for gross-out purposes only, with only brief indications towards why he prowls the subway looking for unsuspecting victims. His creepiness is kept relatively light for humour purposes – which works in the context of the episode but does prevent it from really speaking to more serious insinuations.

 

Production values are strong, with some fine camerawork and direction from Bonz and Rizzo which adds to the whimsy when the Bobo team are riffing with their plots, and amplifies the creepiness when ‘The Kisser’ is on the prowl. Visual effects manage to be impressive and clean enough to convince when used, yet also induce laughs from their ‘b-movie’ style roughness. You sense the Ghostbusters-style finale was reliant on the dual-edged absurdity provided by the VFX’s ability to land between these 2 qualities.

 

Bobo Touch Helpline’s meaningless absurdity just about works thanks to its cast’s energetic performances. There is not much more to The Kisser beyond this though, and fans of their style of humour will find funnier offerings elsewhere which manage to hit upon more meaningful beats.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Digital / DVD Release, Short Film, Web Series