'Sonny Boy': Alleged comedy focuses on child abuse

October 30, 1990|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic

Now, I don't know about you, but I've long wished to spend an hour and a half with the great actor David Carradine, formerly of "Kung Fu," while David was dressed as a woman.

And, darn it, my wish has finally come true in "Sonny Boy," now playing in a couple of very lucky area theaters. Dave -- I don't think he'd mind me calling him that -- spends the whole movie in drag; it's pretty darned amusing.

Dave plays "Pearl," one-half of a criminal couple. Pearl's "spouse" -- pardon the joke -- is played by Paul L. Smith, who weighs about 400 pounds. He looks like a very mean Luciano Pavarotti. He plays "Slew," the boss of a town called -- oh, it's so ironic! -- "Harmony."

And the movie that Dave and Paul star in is something I know we've all been waiting for. I love the concept. It's pretty special. It's a "hip" comedy about "child abuse." Oh, those two wacky guys!

The movie begins 20 years ago when another wacky guy, Brad Dourif, murders the parents of, and inadvertently kidnaps, an infant, which he delivers to Pearl and Slew, living in trailers in the New Mexico desert. The two -- you might call them an "odd couple" -- raise the child by beating him, cutting his tongue out, torturing him, threatening him with fire, raising him in chains in a grain silo. Sonny Boy, as they call him, grows up to be a very confused young man. Incidentally, that's where the title is from. His name is the same name of the movie. It's another one of those "clever" touches.

I really enjoyed the bit where they used Sonny Boy as a cannibal to eat their enemies. Those were my favorite parts. But I also like the fact that everybody in the movie had crusty ragged teeth.

Bad teeth! Child abuse! Dave in drag! A fat guy with a shotgun! Is this a great country, or what?

'Sonny Boy'

Starring David Carradine and Paul L. Smith.

Directed by Robert Martin Carroll.

Released by Triumph.

Rated R.

0 stars

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