Robey, Tim. “THE MYSTERY OF THE FRAT-BOY MOVIE Critics hate them - but gross-out comedies top the charts. Like, why is that, dude, asks
Tim Robey.” The Daily Telegraph. 2006. April 2008
Robey gives the London perspective on movies as “frat-boy bacchanals,” which is apparently unfamiliar with the concept of a fraternity. His definition of a frat boy is as follows: “Frat boys slip bodily fluids into each other's pints. They view the opposite sex as a first-come, first-served ambulant buffet of hair and breasts.” With this disturbing image, it is easy to see why so many frat films receive awful reviews, being dramatically described as “a plunge into depravity.” What Robey does not understand is why all types of frat films, Jackass Number Two along with American Pie, do well. He describes Jackass as “real frat boys doing real, very painful things to each other, live on camera.” The truth is that frat boys actually do similarly horrible things. The more favorable truth is that they exploit these conquests only to those within the fraternity, not to the entire world. Robey thinks the point of some of these films (or the point of actually seeing them) could be to desensitize audiences and act as an “excruciating endurance test.”
The film that falls into the opposite of this category, that of great frat flicks, is Animal House. One reason could be that it actually has a plot, but Harold and Kumar also makes it on the list. Robey’s point is that these films should not automatically match the need to entertain with the need to repulse. It seems that these films get more angry response for vulgarity than for racism or misogyny. Tim Matheson’s character puts on an act to sexually take advantage of the friend of his date, who recently died in a kiln explosion. So what? However, when Stevie from Jackass puts a hook through his mouth, audiences react. This is not necessarily wrong, and doesn’t give insight into a culture’s morals. It just points out what an audience isn’t used to in society. Though Animal House is a classic, Jackass is daring: no plot, no shirt, no shoes, and especially no dignity.