By Tom Kapr
Wow. Bug Me Not!
What to say about this musical fantasy about teenagers with weird superpowers and bugs who can talk. My first instinct was to just brush it off by saying that I had no idea what was supposed to be going on in this movie, and that would have been the truth. But that’s no fun. So, here I go, I’m going to try and describe this movie’s plot:
Okay, so there’s this little girl named Moon who loves bugs, and all this little girl ever says is “Coochie coohie!” so naturally everyone thinks she’s a retard, and other adults seem to have no problem saying so to Moon’s mother. Moon’s mother tells her that her saying nothing but “Coochie coochie” all the time makes adults sad (although my theory is they were pretty sad adults to begin with), so Moon starts saying other things.
Moon meets Coochie.
Moon grows into a teenager. She frees a ladybug from some sticky stuff. This ladybug follows her home and starts talking to her, revealing his name is “Coochie” and that he was the same ladybug she befriended as a child. (That is one old ladybug.) So Moon starts saying “Coochie” again and is very happy. There’s also this dog following her around that can’t speak but is, for some reason, voiced by a human anyway.
Moon meets a bunch of kids with “Ultra Power.” One boy has a reverse mohawk and can jump really high, but using his power causes acne to break out all over his face. Another boy can see through the stall door in the girls’ bathroom, but using his power causes his nose hair to grow to an abnormal (and frankly disturbing) size. Then there’s a kid who can see people’s futures and a pair of twin girls with some kind of telekinetic powers that they can harness by doing this weird Wonder Twins activation routine. They all hang out at the “Psychic Park” with this creepy girl who says she’s a 70-year-old riddle and likes for the children to call her “Auntie.” The dog that has been following Moon apparently can talk only to Auntie and reports to her about Moon’s ability to communicate with bugs.
Moon’s mother has a serious mahjong addiction (like, the kind that can get you into trouble with a Mob of some sort). Also, Moon has a crush on a guy named Hyland who works at the novelty shop that she can spy on from her house. Coochie brings some friends over and these badly animated bugs break into song — terrible, terrible song — and vow to help Moon win the affections of Hyland. Coochie can also summon bug armies by causing algebra problems to appear in the air.
Moon and Coochie spy on Hyland.
Hyland never let s anyone touch him, but Moon touches him accidentally one time, and instead of sending him into a rage as it usually would, it causes copious amounts of water to pour from his head and also causes him to have what appears to be a massively intense orgasm. Or maybe he just gets electrocuted and falls asleep.
All these Ultra Power kids enter something called the “International Pushover Contest,” in which contestants push each other to win the prize of “a close encounter with the Japanese nymph” (this is never explained). Hyland doesn’t want to enter the contest because he doesn’t want anyone touching him, so he and Auntie dance the tango in an alley (without touching), and Moon basically forces him to go by filling out hundreds of application forms in his name. (Also, Hyland can’t read or write, which is somehow connected to his intimacy problems.)
Hyland loses the lamest Mortal Bloodsport Beyond Thunderdome battle sequence ever because acne kid cheats, so Moon cheats by sending a bug army into the ring. All the bugs are taken hostage and put in a cardboard box by the Japanese nymph, but Moon grabs the box and runs away with it. Hyland stops her and tells her to apologize for cheating. They get in a fight, Moon throws a bunch of what look like jumbo-size tampons at him, and he accidentally puts his paint-covered hands on her chest to hold her off. This makes her so happy she runs off skipping and smiling and forgets the box of her bug friends, who are kidnapped by an eeee-vil bug collector, but the bugs are saved at the last minute by the Japanese nymph, but Coochie doesn’t make it out alive for reasons unexplained, and is brutally murdered by the bug collector and a hammer.
She was so happy about her accidental molestation, she forgot about Coochie. (I end up writing the weirdest sentences in this line of work.)
Moon’s betrayal and the general brutality of humankind causes the bugs to go into hiding, and all the plants go on strike and refuse to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, and this causes the world’s climate to turn upside-down. (Oh yeah, there’s also a talking tree in this movie.) The Ultra Power squad goes looking for Coochie and the rest of the bugs, and they converge in the park with literally every other fringe teenage character in the film, and they all go into a musical number like they’re the Jets and the Sharks.
The kids finally find some bugs, but it’s an army of rhino beetles ready to declare war on humanity, but Moon and Hyland hold hands to show they have faith and call on Coochie one last time, and he comes to the rescue, because, surprise!, he’s not really dead. The rest of the bugs want to go to war anyway because of Moon leaving them behind, but Auntie shows up in the nick of time with a jar of honey she got from Hyland’s secretly Ultra-Powered dad, and everyone calms right down. But Coochie gets stuck in the honey because he’s a total spaz, and Moon has to save his life once again by crying on him. And everyone rejoices.
Finally, Hyland and Moon are in a field, and Moon tells Hyland she loves him, and Hyland makes a joke about how small her breasts are, and this makes her happy, and she chases him around as the bugs sing one last musical number.
Anyway… I think it’s all supposed to be about puberty.
As a final note, behind-the-scenes footage during the credits reveals that the terribly animated bugs were created by motion capture. A hilarious-looking guy in a bug suit performed all of Coochie’s scenes, and they turned that into the most awful motion-capture animation ever. I should also mention, for the sake of fairness, that Bo-lin Chen, who played Hyland, is an interesting actor whom I’d like to see in better films, and that Isabella Leong, who played Moon, has an undeniable charm about her. But this movie is pure unadulterated cinematic cheese.
(Enjoying the Rant Pad? There’s more! Visit our podcast home page at BuriedCinema.com. Then you can also Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Friend us on Flickchart, and Subscribe to us on YouTube!)