Making a film about an entirely unlikable character is nothing new, but somehow The Snake sticks the premise into an indie film wrapper that manages to be hilarious from the outset. I imagine the film is going to piss a lot of people off -- and if anyone in a bulimia support group gets wind of it, we'll hear about protests and hunger strikes (sorry, I couldn't resist). But that's not meant as a statement to defend Adam Goldstein's title character from the flick: the word douche was invented to describe him.
The film follows the exploits of said douche, Ken ("The Snake"), who will basically do anything to try and sleep with a woman, yet he's vain enough to be swayed by the slightest outside influences that hint at his object of affection being less than stellar. Case in point: while cruising the local bars he actually picks up a fairly attractive woman, despite his idiotic come-on techniques and cheesy lines. However, when one of his friends suggests (as a joke) that she might be slightly overweight, he turns her down when she invites him back to her place. That's just the tip of the iceberg, and it's hilarious to watch. Ken quickly begins obsessing over a rail-thin girl (Talia) he stalks/follows the next day, and trails her to a support group meeting for women with body issues. She has bulimia, and he lies, fakes, and cons his way into the same group, claiming he's upset by his height. He continues to try and pursue her, although is quickly foiled and exposed by Natalie, a lesbian with similar designs on Talia. However, Ken remains in the group by claiming that he was just acting out because of a molestation from his childhood.. Pure devious genius, and another example of the depths he'll stoop to.
Soon, Ken is bringing caches of hidden candy bars to Talia by taping them across his body in drug mule fashion, and rubbing her back while she vomits -- whispering things like, "There you go... get all the ugly out." When he finally scores with her, he snaps a photo with his cell phone so he can show her off to his buddies. After her parents find out and he's denied access to her, he drunkenly tries to score with just about every woman in his local bars, including a horrified Margaret Cho. She's berating him for enabling a bulimic girl, to which he responds by saying "If I can throw up in this glass, you'll have sex with me."
There's a slew of films starring extremely unlikable characters who learn a lesson along the way and become nicer people. Modern movies like Knocked Up and My Best Friend's Girl are perfect examples of this, and for a few moments it seems like The Snake is going to learn something as well. But, the closing credits show him pretending he has a lost dog so he can try and pick up women in a local park, and he's completed the con with photos of himself with said dog stark naked. That's The Snake you've grown to know and love over the course of the movie.
The flick is billed as a "microbudget digital feature" that was self-financed by co-director/writers Eric Kutner and Adam Goldstein, and Goldstein stars as Ken. They wrote up a list of "rules" they wanted to avoid when they made this movie in hopes of avoiding most of the movie cliches that plague characters like this. When he doesn't go through a lame Dane Cook / Seth Rogen / Jack Nicholson "You make me want to be a better man" moment, it's very satisfying.
They got their movie into the hands of Patton Oswalt through some friends, and he was hesitant to watch it at first. "I was like, 'Oh, shit.' Well, I'll watch 10 minutes and then fake it." He ended up loving the movie, and presented it at SXSW. With any luck, you'll see The Snake near you sometime soon, either in a theater or on DVD. If you like dark comedy, this movie was made for you. Watch the NSFW trailer here and see for yourself.