Nature Calls

Nature Calls

Editor’s note: Yet another SXSW feature is hitting limited release, so please relieve yourselves with this Nature Calls review, originally published on March 11, 2012. Filmmaker Todd Rohal‘s third feature film, Nature Calls, returns to a world similar to that of his The Catechism Cataclysm – a world marked by complete madness by way of a poorly planned excursions to the outdoors. Rohal is again concerned with pushing the envelope, particularly when it comes to poking fun at organized religion, but a sweet edge of sentimentality and emotions sets Nature Calls apart from his previous outing. Unfortunately, Rohal’s film cannot quite join its disparate parts – wacky antics, inspired upbraiding of modern consumer life, physical danger, and fractured familial relationships – into one cohesive piece, and while the film’s laughs are frequent, they are fleeting and don’t have any weight behind them. Also, goddamn can this thing be offensive.

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Nature Calls Red Band Trailer

Whether he’s taking a stand against KFC bowls in his standup act, lampooning sports-obsessed weirdos in Big Fan, or snarkily dismissing small town group think in Young Adult, Patton Oswalt has firmly established himself as being one of the preeminent critics of modern culture. Nature Calls keeps that momentum going by casting him as a man in an epic struggle against the rampant douchebaggery running wild in our youth. The basic story is this: Oswalt plays a Boy Scout troop leader frustrated with the modern generation’s lack of interest in things like going outside and not staring at a screen all day. Johnny Knoxville plays his brother, the sort of manic idiot whose idea of being a role model is loading kids full of sugar and showing them bum fights on Youtube. This impasse of ideals leads to Oswalt kidnapping a crew of rambunctious children and forcing them to spend time out in the woods doing the sorts of things that men do. An epic manhunt and “Lord of the Flies” shenanigans soon follow.

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