‘The Rumperbutts’ Review: You Are Not Your Job, You are Not Your Job…

Posted in The Screening Room by - June 04, 2015

The Rumperbutts is an indie rock musical staring real life indie rock mainstays Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel of Mates of State. They play Bonnie and Jack, two musicians whose marriage falls after they accept a job hosting a children’s T.V. show. It’s is fitting considering the pair are married in real life. The film was kickstarted by writer/ director Marc Brener after forming a relationship with Mates of State on a previous collaboration. Also along for the ride is Marcs younger brother Josh Brener of Silicon Valley and Maron

The plot picks up with Bonnie and Jack already at each other’s throat, dressed in their absurd Rumperbutts costumes about to put on a live show for their kindergarten-aged fans. Before jumping onto stage and breaking into song, they proclaim their mutual hatred. It never becomes entirely clear what drove such a wedge between them, other than dissatisfaction with their job. In fact, the Mates of State are incredibly bad at acting as though they aren’t deeply in love. They say toxic things to each other, sleep with other people, ask for divorce, but never really behave like they mean it. Once they find themselves on a path to get back together, this actually plays pretty well. During the earlier scenes, it hurts the tone a bit. 

The rest of the film is pretty thin on plot and heavy on original songs from the band. They meet Richie, a literal magical helper, who for mysterious reasons is determined to help them rediscover the spark in their relationship by encouraging them to record a new album of indie tunes. What follows is a collection of music videos split up by brief scenes of the pair struggling with the decision of whether or not to leave their lucrative jobs as the Rumperbutts. 

The main draw of the film is the original music from Mates of State. Most of the songs are great, but don’t do much to drive the plot forward. Instead they serve as tone pieces that reflect how the musicians are feeling.  Too often the momentum of the plot is halted while an entire song, complete with repeats of the chorus, plays out. Near the middle of the film one of the musical sequences is done to great effect with a clever rotating one shot, but many times it’s a simple video of the musicians singing together. None of them are bad necessarily, but they have a tendency to overstay their welcome, especially when you find yourself itching to get back to the plot while the band jams for a bit. 

The film has plenty of small charming moments, and tidbits of comedy from Josh Brener, and if you’re a Fan of Mates of State you won’t want to miss this. Overall though, I found the pacing issues to be too problematic for me to give a wholehearted recommendation. But for the right person, this could be just the right magical little trip to make their day.  

This post was written by

He holds a BFA in writing for screen and television from the University of Southern California, and has co-writing credit for the indie-as-fuck feature film All Together Now. A fan of all things entertainment, he spends his free time watching TV, reading comic books, and cataloging a warehouse full of VHS tapes.

Comments are closed.