I wouldn't recommend actually sitting through Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen to anyone. But in the abstract -- after you've been through the horrifying experience -- there are parts of the film that are so bizarre that the whole thing starts to look like the work of some sick, Andy Kaufman-esque jokester genius. And then it becomes kind of interesting. I mean, some of this stuff can't be for real... Can it?
1. Megan Fox's first appearance. See above. That is the first shot of Megan Fox in the film, as she works on a motorcycle in her family's garage while taking a call from boyfriend Shia LaBoeuf. Makes sense, right? Or do you not typically mount your motorcycle in that fashion, wearing knee-high boots and denim hot pants, to do some body work? If not, why not? Hysterical -- though I have to say that Michael Bay's leering at Fox throughout the movie eventually becomes a little uncomfortable. And if you didn't think it was possible for a director to leer at his star with the camera, Revenge of the Fallen proves you wrong.
2. The enormous Bad Boys II poster in Sam's dorm room. If it just appeared on someone's wall at a point in the film, that would be one thing -- a little arrogant, but not really notable. That's not what happens here. The poster for Bay's Bad Boys II -- presumably belonging to Sam's motormouth techie roommate -- is enormous, and fills the screen on at least two occasions. The self-regard is astounding. Has a director ever put in product placement for his other work in a movie before?
3. The obsession with things humping other things. It doesn't really matter what things. First, we see dogs going at it. Why? Because humping dogs are funny, that's why. Then, later, a miniature decepticon grinds against Megan Fox's leg. Why? I have no earthly idea. I guess Bay or his producers thought this would amuse someone, somewhere. Gotta spend $200 million somehow.
4. John Turturro's ass in a g-string. Again I ask: Why? Why did we need to see that? Whose idea was it? And -- at the risk of repeating myself -- why? It's just so delightfully inexplicable.
5. The racism -- Okay, we don't really "love" the minstrely ebonics-bots who "don't do much readin'," or the entirely gratuitous buck-toothed deli worker. But the movie's racism is so blatant and casual that it becomes kind of funny. To clarify: I have no interest in manufactured outrage. I don't think Revenge of the Fallen will affect American race relations, or perpetuate stereotypes in any way that matters. I just think the movie should be laughed at for its utter cluelessness. I mean, what is this stuff? What were they thinking?
6. The Obama-bashing -- I actually don't mind this much. Certainly plenty of genre films from the past few years have gone after Bush, so Obama is fair game too. But it's just so random. Why, exactly, would Obama dispatch a weaselly Congressman to instruct our savior robots to go home? Is that supposed to be him capitulating to the terrorists? I don't get it.
7. The running time -- Torturous; criminal. But kind of funny in retrospect, too. I mean, two and a half hours. Who could possibly have thought this movie would be entertaining at that length. At around 100 minutes, I semi-seriously considered the possibility that the movie would never end, and I would never be permitted to leave. (I was assigned to reviw the film for another outlet.) It's mind-boggling.
But yes, yes, I know. $60.6 million on the first day. Joke's on me. But it was a joke. Right?