Kaboom Review

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Eighteen year-old Smith (Dekker) has problems figuring out whether he's straight or gay. Heading off to college with his best friend Stella (Bennett), he finds a note announcing that he's the chosen one. Things soon get weird...


With 2005's Mysterious Skin, indie gay cinema pioneer Gregg Araki hinted he might have the chops to follow Gus Van Sant into mainstream melodrama, while 2007’s Smiley Face showed he could easily do a David Gordon Green and make stoner comedies for studios. Kaboom, though, is a return to the erotically charged delirium of his earlier “queer John Hughes” movies; inspired by a conversation with John Waters, it’s a light but fun teen comedy in which a sexually undecided high-schooler (Thomas Dekker) is plagued by visions of a corridor, an apartment door to a room numbered 19 and a dumpster. As he tries to solve the riddle, things get stranger and stranger, with witches, ESP and millennial cults, plus the kind of hilariously bawdy dialogue (“Dude, it’s a vagina, not a bowl of spaghetti”) that we might have heard if only Joan Rivers had scripted Clueless.

Gregg Araki's sci-fi is a weird and, just occasionally, wonderful skew on the college comedy. Slight but fun.