By Jennie Orton
CALGARY — For anyone who was a child of the ‘80s in Canada, The Peanut Butter Solution was most likely a film encountered at least once. For me, it was the top choice for sleepover parties for a good three years of my childhood. The problem being: it terrified me. The Peanut Butter Solution is notoriously strange and left me with a bad taste stuck to the roof of my mouth.
It emerged as part of the 2015 CUFF schedule and as such so did my chance to redeem myself. The result: mixed.
The story follows Michael, a curious young boy whose desire to look inside a burned out building leads him to a “fright” that literally scares the hair right off his head. This is where things get weird. With the help of his friend Conrad (played by Siluck Saysanasy, or Yick for those of you into the original Degrassi series) and his prematurely middle-aged sister Suzie, Michael tries to find a way to regain his mane. Naturally this leads him to two ghosts and their recipe for hair-growing sludge made of raw eggs and dead flies and, you guessed it: peanut butter. Well wouldn’t you know, the mixture backfires and Michael’s hair starts growing out of control (along with Yick’s pubes because of course Yick had to put it “down there”…that seriously happened). What ensues is an unraveling story involving Michael looking like Crystal Gayle, getting kidnapped by an artist resembling a haunted French Canadian Mark Twain who harvests his hair to make paintbrushes and something about the conquering of fear.
The story reads like it was written by an actual eight-year-old, becoming absurd and uncomfortable by the minute until you can’t wait for it to be over… or maybe that was just me and my still very real childhood discomfort.
I regressed back to my former self but felt good about facing my fear like the movie told me to do. An absurd, fantastical, creepy head-slapper, The Peanut Butter Solution is what Roald Dahl would’ve written if he was half asleep with a raging case of munchies. Glad I was able to see it again. I’m done now.AB, Alberta, Calgary Underground Film Festival, CUFF, CUFF 2015, The Peanut Butter Solution