Watch Vulgar

"Everyone loves a clown... some more than others."
  • R
  • 2002
  • 1 hr 27 min
  • 5.2  (4,249)
  • 5

Vulgar is a grimy, low-budget independent movie from 2000 that tells the story of Will Carlson (Brian O'Halloran), a birthday party clown who unexpectedly finds himself thrust into the seedy underworld of amateur pornography and violent crime. The movie begins by showing Will in his clown outfit, performing at a birthday party for a young boy. We see him struggling to keep the kids entertained and dealing with the parents who treat him with disdain. When the party ends, Will returns to his normal life - a struggling bachelor living in a cramped apartment with his friend Syd (Jerry Lewkowitz) and working odd jobs to pay the bills.

One of those odd jobs is performing at a bachelor party - a gig that quickly turns dark when Will is brutally assaulted and raped by the men at the party. Traumatized and unable to return to his former life, Will is approached by a producer named Lennie (Bryan Johnson) who convinces him to star in a series of pornographic videos that Lennie will produce.

At first, things go well for Will. His alter ego Flappy learns the moves and the lingo and begins to gain a following. But soon, Will finds himself deeper and deeper in a world of exploitation and violence. His videos become increasingly gruesome and violent, and he finds himself drawn into a world of blackmail and extortion that threatens to destroy him.

At its core, Vulgar is a movie about the ways that trauma can lead us down dark and dangerous paths. Will is a sympathetic character - a man who just wants to make ends meet and bring a little joy into the world through his clowning. But when he is violated, he is forced to confront the limits of his own morality and decision-making.

The movie is not for everyone. Its low budget is evident in the gritty, grainy visuals and the occasional pacing issues. And some of the content - particularly the violent and sexual scenes - is difficult to watch. But for those who are willing to take the journey with Will, Vulgar offers a glimpse into the dark side of the human psyche and a reminder of the fragility of our own moral compasses.

The performances in the movie are a mixed bag. O'Halloran does a good job of conveying Will's vulnerability and desperation, but at times his acting feels stilted and forced. Johnson, on the other hand, is a standout as Lennie - a sleazy, manipulative producer who always seems to be one step ahead of Will. Lewkowitz brings some much-needed comic relief to the movie as Syd, Will's best friend and roommate.

One of the most notable things about Vulgar is its use of clown imagery. The movie opens with a quote from Joseph Grimaldi - a famous English clown from the 19th century - and later shows Will in full clown makeup, performing at parties and smoking cigarettes in between gigs. The use of clowning serves as a metaphor for the masks that we all wear in our daily lives and the ways that trauma can strip those masks away.

In terms of themes, Vulgar is not for the faint of heart. It deals with sexual assault, exploitation, and violence in a frank and unflinching way. But for those who are willing to grapple with those themes, the movie offers a powerful exploration of the human psyche and the choices that we make in the face of trauma.

Overall, Vulgar is not an easy movie to watch. But for those who are willing to take the journey with Will, it offers a haunting and thought-provoking meditation on the limits of our own morality and the darkness that can lurk within us all.

Vulgar is a 2002 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 27 minutes. It has received poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.2 and a MetaScore of 5.

Where to Watch Vulgar
Vulgar is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Vulgar for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 27 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.2  (4,249)
  • Metascore