Funland (1987)

I watched this movie because it was filmed in Six Flags here in Georgia. Once I started it up, I discovered Jan Hooks of Saturday Night Live fame happened to have a small part in it. Excellent.

An amusement park named Funland is bought out by the mafia, and they decide to make some changes. One of those changes happens to be dwindling the influence of Bruce Burgers, a clown that had a mental breakdown the year before and actually believes he is his character. As the mafia exercises more and more control, the clown goes crazier and crazier, eventually talking to a wax model of Humphrey Bogart from Casablanca and the ghost of his dead boss. Eventually, Bruce decides to take a rifle and assassinate the actor who is replacing him, all part of a plan to take back the amusement park.

Unfortunately, Funland falls apart pretty quick because it’s got way too much going on. I was promised a massacre from a crazy clown, but it takes over an hour to get there and lasts all of 5 minutes, with hardly any massacre at all. While Bruce’s crazy antics leading up to his attack are entertaining to watch, particularly a bizarre dance number in a cafeteria about the food that is being served, the main mob storyline falls flat. One issue I see is that there are really two main characters here: Bruce and park manager Mike. And then there are repeated scenes focusing on the prima donna actor who is the national image of Bruce Burger and how much he hates children; this guy just isn’t relevant. And there’s the photographer who flirts constantly as well as a goofy security guard, and…I think you get the idea.

Despite this, Funland has some charm to it, particularly in how it throws gags throughout about whatever it can, be it references to the crap food or a sign saying, “You must be as tall as my balls to go on this ride.” It means balls for juggling, but of course that’s not how it should be taken. The antics of many of the side characters are entertaining, particularly when they are brief, but they often have almost nothing to do with the plot. Hell, some of them literally never interact with Bruce the clown at all.

Funland. Come for the killer clown. Stay for the irreverence. Realize you’re not really going to see much of a killer clown. Go home wondering why the movie poster just had to be so provocative.

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