tek's rating:

Shakes the Clown (R)
IMDb; Mill Creek Ent.; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; FandangoNOW; Google Play; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu

Caution: spoilers.

Bobcat Goldthwait wrote and directed this film, in which he also plays the title character. It came out in 1991, but I didn't see it until 2020. Well, Shakes is an alcoholic, which often leads to him being late for gigs, or missing them entirely. But we do see one birthday party where he's obviously very good at his job, when he shows up. (There's another party we see where he is the worst.) I'd also say Shakes is kind of an asshole, and he cheats on his girlfriend, Judy (Julie Brown). His best friends are a couple of clowns named Dink (Adam Sandler) and Stenchy. There's a local TV show hosted by another clown, who gets fired, and Shakes expects to be his replacement. But the job ends up going to his rival, Binky (Tom Kenny), who has a couple of sort of stooges named HoHo and Boots. And all the clowns spend a lot of time in a clown bar, where Judy is a waitress (though her dream is to become a professional bowler). Another waitress there is her friend Lucy (Kathy Griffin). Anyway, Shakes's drinking problem becomes worse when Judy breaks up with him for cheating, and he fails to get the TV job. And after his latest screw-up, he's fired by his father figure boss, Owen Cheese (Paul Dooley).

One night, Cheese catches Binky buying cocaine from a couple of rodeo clowns, and Binky kills him to cover it up. Then he and his stooges and the rodeo clowns frame Shakes for the murder, while he's passed out. When he wakes up, he believes he killed Cheese, and goes to Judy for help. She's certain he doesn't have it in him to have killed his father figure. Then he seeks help from Dink and Stenchy, to figure out who the real killer is. Meanwhile, Binky tries to woo Judy, but accidentally admits to her that he killed Cheese, so he decides to kill her... which he'll try to do live on his first day of the TV show, which seems like a pretty bad idea. But Shakes and his friends also find out Binky is the killer, and go to the studio to save Judy.

I should also mention that party clowns have an intense hatred of mimes, which kind of reminded me of the Star Wars and Star Trek fans from Fanboys. So it's ironic that while Shakes is trying to hide out from the police, he disguises himself as a mime, and goes to a class led by Mime Jerry (Robin Williams, credited as Marty Fromage). There's also a deep hatred between party clowns and rodeo clowns. And um... I'm not sure what else to say, except that it felt weird to sympathize with Shakes and see him as the hero of the story, considering his many flaws. But it helped to have Binky, who was much worse, to contrast him with.


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