Fantasia International Film Festival (FIFF) – I don’t think I have seen anything like Sexy Furby before, and I’m not sure if I want to again. I love weird stories, but Sexy Furby is weird in a way that I felt was trying very hard to be silly or trying very hard to be weird for the sake of being weird, and that just wasn’t a good taste to my viewing palette. Sexy Furby is listed as one of the few horror stories included in the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival lineup, and it certainly does live up to its label, providing images of some truly grotesque characters that I wish I could unsee.
Co-directed/co-written/starring Nicole Daddona, Sexy Furby tells a short tale of a lonely woman named Lisa whose father passes away and leaves her with unexpected, insurmountable debt. She decides to commit suicide on the very golf course that her father died on, but just before following through with her morbid plan, she meets a tall drink of a Furby-faced man who provides for both her sexual and financial needs. However, their high life of love and money escalates into needing harder stimulations, reactivating Lisa’s cycle of mental downfalls in her quest to fill emotional voids within herself.
Sexy Furby had a similar anachronistic style that was famously captured in Napoleon Dynamite (2004), the aesthetic that seems to be caught somewhere in the late 80s/early 90s, only Sexy Furby’s color pallet is yet more graphic, much like its sexy and slightly violent content. The comedic aspect of this look writes itself by very way of it seeming dated and therefore tacky, but the costuming design was contrived tacky instead of just letting the tackiness of folksy fashion and sensibilities speak for itself. I did, however, very much appreciate the framing for a lot of the shots in this short film — there were a lot of close-ups, but they were from interesting angles that gave the film a slightly higher quality of production. I did also like the tone of this black comedy, which had dialogue that was delivered in a deadpan/straight style, in contrast to the bright and silly imagery.
The side jokes came off as forced, and the main joke of the film being a giant Furby who can engage in sexual intercourse was definitely new but I just didn’t get it. Why a Furby? Perhaps Sexy Furby was trying to speak to how animatronic playthings replace our human interactions if they shower us with the affection we have been missing. Perhaps the film was speaking to the Furby craze of the late 90s that caused people to think they would be valuable collector items to someday provide monetary windfalls. Either way, the message, if any, was lost on me, as I was distracted by the silliness of it all.
Not that it is completely without its merits, and not that I was waiting for it to be over, but the only part of Sexy Furby that actually made me LOL was the ending credits with someone doing a poor rendition of Bobby Vinton’s “Mr. Lonely.” There was a lot going on leading up to the end – death and debt, a woman with serious mental health issues who is apparently horribly deformed by her universe’s deformed beauty standards, a man-like Furby with the supernatural power to gush money, the story is apparently set in the future or an alternate universe, and a whole lot of other weirdness – all of which looked very cool and colorful but came off pretty forced to me.
The film will screen as part of the Fantasia International Film Festival, happening August 5-25.
5 out of 10