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Partners in Life and Work: The Rumperbutts 

Wednesday, May 20 2015
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Marc Brener's The Rumperbutts is a well-meaning musical-fantasy that never quite comes to life. Bonnie (Kori Gardner) and Jack (Jason Hammel) are a married couple in a Yo La Tengo-esque indie band — or a Mates of State-esque indie band, actually, since that's Gardner and Hammel's indie band in real life — who have found fame and success as a musical touring act for children, the title-providing Rumperbutts. (There are of course lots of butt jokes, because both small children and bros find butts endlessly funny.) It's driven them apart as a couple and made them hate their lives, but potential salvation arrives in the form of Richie (Silicon Valley's Josh Brener), a supernatural nerd of undetermined astral provenance who promises to help them get their groove back. The picture embraces its musical-ness, with many full-length Mates of State songs performed directly to the camera. Some are catchier than others (if nothing up there with the current standard-bearer, God Help the Girl), but the movie doesn't really catch fire until the villains (Adrian Moayed and Vanessa Ray) get their own number, which evokes Annie's "Easy Street" in the best way possible. And though The Rumperbutts makes no claim to family-friendliness, it still features more jokes about the size of Jack's scrotum than are strictly necessary.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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