Oh boy, where do we begin with this catastrophe known as Funland? Yet another impulse purchase from Best Buy, yours truly believed that this little 80's flick would be good for a few laughs. Unfortunately, little did I know that this would be Michael A. Simpson's experiment in crossing a Comedy with a Psycho-Thriller. What a complete disaster!
Combining elements of trite 80's comedy with a character that displays traits similar to Bill Lustig's Maniac, Funland's motives are difficult to decipher. Did Simpson intend to make you laugh? Or did the director want the viewer to experience a manic episode while watching the contents of the film unfold?
Centering on the mis-adventures of theme park clown Bruce Burger (yes, Laverne and Shirley's David Lander), Funland is a revenge flick that takes form as Burger watches the amusement park fall into the wrong hands when its owner meets an untimely demise. Already on the brink of insanity and consistently showing signs of schizophrenia, Burger completely breaks down and begins to hold conversations with the likes of Humphrey Bogart, his former boss in zombie form and a free standing pepperoni puppet named Peter (say that 5 times fast!). Amidst the "zany" gags and stereotypical jokes (southern blacks tending to a watermelon stand, the uptight British theatre performer, Don Ginzo now running the park) Simpson actually created a halfway decent psychopath in Burger. Unfortunately, the lunacy that made Funland so attractive in Burger is far overshadowed by the distractions mentioned, creating a diluted experience that rivals cleaning animal feces from the bottom of your shoe.
As time passes ever so slowly in the film, we see that Bruce is becoming more detached from reality and spiralling further into psychosis. When his other (real life) buddy Mike (Mahler) notifies Bruce that the new owners of the theme park intend to fire him before the grand opening, Bruce snaps and heads to the park's clock tower armed with a sniper rifle. In one of the most anti-climactic acts of terrorism, Bruce fires off about 12 rounds from the rifle hitting absolutely nothing. This just goes to prove my hypothesis that clowns make poor sharpshooters and should not be considered for the SWAT team. The shots fired gain Bruce a bit of attention from the park's new owners, and they send a thug up to "clean up the mess". With a fight scene reminiscent of Wendy Richter vs. the Fabulous Moolah from Wrestlemania, Bruce is able to escpae with his life and somehow skew the scenario so it looks like the new boss' regime tried to snuff some peeps out.
After the film ended, I was almost ashamed to admit that I sat through (no less paid for) that rubbish. A true product of the 80's, Funland is nothing more than an attempt to cross-breed genres that highlighted the shelves of video stores from that era. Well, it failed miserably. As expected, there were no extras incorporated on the dollar bin disc, save for the option of scene navigation so that the viewer can pick out their favorite moments in Bruce's adventures.
Compared to Michael A. Simpson's other films, Sleepaway Camp 2 & 3, Funland is a complete disappointment. This film adds to the growing pile of disappointment from the "obscurity" department at Best Buy and I'm beginning to wonder if these $5.99 purchases are worth it anymore.