Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
Published August 30th 2014
Piles are the butt of all jokes
Director: David Wnendt (Combat Girls) Cast: Carla Juri, Christoph Letkowski, Meret Becker, Axel Milberg
Wetlands has the questionable distinction of containing possibly more different forms of bodily secretions than any other film ever. I'll spare you the sordid details. Well some of them, others are actually pivotal to the story. While the word 'refreshing' doesn't readily come to mind, it does actually make a nice change to see a gross-out comedy from a woman's perspective.
Helen (Carla Juri) makes a statement in the opening scene
Our 'hero' of the story is Helen. Her mother is a clean-freak, so in the true spirit of rebellion, Helen goes out of her way to be as dirty as possible. This is comprehensively summed up in the opening scene. Helen enters a public toilet so filthy it makes Trainspotting's 'worst toilet in Scotland' look like something from Better Homes and Gardens. She walks barefoot along the flooded floor, sits on a toilet seat covered in the most disgusting looking bits of god knows what and deliberately wipes her naked butt in a wide semi-circle around the seat.
It's a startling introduction, and it doesn't get any more pleasant. Helen has hemorrhoids, and is quite fixated with her condition. She's equally obsessed with sex, although her casual attitude towards hygiene means that some of her physical practices don't go down too well with the men she meets.
Nurse Robin (Christoph Letkowski) becomes the object of Helen's desires
One of Helen's more endearing qualities is her determination to reunite her divorced parents, although given their disinterest in not only each other but their daughter, the likelihood of that happening is remote. This doesn't deter her though, and even while in hospital to have her aggravated hemorrhoids seen to, she's trying her best to manipulate the estranged couple.
She also takes a shine to one of the nurses, a sweet young man named Robin. He may seem way too clean-cut for her unorthodox lifestyle, but at least his profession means he's not so squeamish when it comes to dealing with the profusion and variety of bodily liquids Helen exposes him to.
Skatergirl Helen and her favourite mode of transport
To be sure, the humour in Wetlands will not be everyone's cup of tea. It's remarkably tasteless, and actually pretty hard to look at on occasion. Nevertheless you have to admire the audacity of writer/director Wnendt for creating such a confrontational character.
Ultimately, despite the gross-out gags, Wetlands is a sweet-natured rom com at heart. Probably not a first date film, but if you're feeling brave, you could get a kick out of this. A word of advice, eat before the film because you won't want to afterwards, and you definitely won't feel like ordering pizza. Think American Pie but on a grander scale.
Wetlands is rated R. It contains high impact themes, actual sexual activity and nudity