|Directed by||Chris Nelson|
|Produced by||Heather Rae|
|Written by||June Diane Raphael|
|Starring||June Diane Raphael|
Jon Paul Phillips
|Distributed by||Gravitas Ventures|
The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2013. The film was made available on iTunes and VOD on September 30, 2013, leading up to the film's theatrical release on November 8, 2013.
Loveable losers Kate and Chloe (June Diane Raphael and Casey Wilson) are best friends with a not-so-firm grip on reality. The girls have been inseparable ever since tying for dead last at a kiddie beauty pageant as children. Now they are all grown up and living in New York City, where Chloe is a "rising star" dancing in a glass box at a nightclub and Kate is the "CEO" of her own one-woman egg-donor "corporation". Their past humiliations at the pageant remain long forgotten until they receive an invitation to the pageant's milestone anniversary celebration. With the unpleasant memories flooding back, Kate and Chloe decide to redeem themselves and take a road trip back to their hometown and win the elusive crown.
On the road, they face some hard truths about themselves and each other as they encounter drug addicts, spring breakers, strip club hooligans, a feminist farming collective, and their favorite reality TV star, leading to the girls' homecoming and final reckoning with their past, present and future.
- June Diane Raphael as Kate Fenner
- Casey Wilson as Chloe West
- Alicia Silverstone as Laurel Kelly
- Jon Cryer as Dean Morris
- Vincent D'Onofrio as Bruce West
- Brian Geraghty as Brian Hickman
- Bob Odenkirk as Pageant Emcee
- Paul Scheer as Strip Club Owner
- Sandy Martin as Qwen
- Marcia Jean Kurtz as Barb
- Lea DeLaria as Deb
- Paul Rust as Seth
- Drew Droege as Homeless Norma
- Debra Monk as Pawn Shop Owner
Ass Backwards was released on DVD on January 28, 2014.
The film has received mixed reactions from critics. The A.V. Club, Hollywood.com, FirstShowing.net, RogerEbert.com, and CraveOnline gave favorable reviews, but the film was panned by Variety and the Los Angeles Times. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 37, based on 10 reviews. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 29% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 17 reviews, with an average score of 4.4/10.
Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times states: "the scenarios in 'Ass Backwards,' which director Chris Nelson contributed to by filming in focus, feel arbitrary rather than organic, as if the creators' list of humor targets—lesbian bikers, trailer trash, drug-addicted reality TV stars, pageant world denizens—were picked out of a hat". One of the harsher reviews came from Dennis Harvey of Variety who called the film "a comedy built on the amusement value of stupid people that is itself too stupid to be funny". On the other hand, Chris Packham of The Village Voice writes: "The episodic story and minimal budget result in a small canvas over which these two huge characters dominate".
While more positive reactions to the film included RogerEbert.com critic Christy Lemire who said, "It's infectious, and the daffy, breezy way the stars play off each other makes Ass Backwards way more enjoyable than it ought to be". The A.V. Club gave the film a B rating, stating "Ass Backwards overcomes the obvious beats with clever, occasionally dark jokes that reveal the sharpness of its stars' writing". And Ethan Anderton of FirstShowing.net said, "It's a road trip worthy of National Lampoon or Planes, Trains and Automobiles with two John Candys. If Ass Backwards is the breakout hit that it deserves to be, then there has to be more in store for Chloe and Kate, two characters that feel like they have been in Wilson and Raphael's backpocket just waiting to be unleashed."
One of the more favorable reviews from Hollywood.com said: "Wilson and Raphael have unique comedic voices, as crass as any male counterpart with strong female identity. They go big and physical with Ass Backwards, dressing their alter egos in over the top costumes (or 'high fashion,' as it's known in New York) and letting loose in a way that recalls the early days of Jim Carrey. It helps that Wilson and Raphael both come from sketch comedy. They're well-versed in hyper-specific characters—and ones we want to spend more time with, just to see what trouble they weasel their ways into."
Shot in various Upstate New York locations (including Albany, Tarrytown and Saratoga Springs) in summer 2010, production was initially halted due to an investor defaulting. In 2011, writers-stars Raphael and Wilson launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise money to finish the film, as well as executive producer Dori Sperko also helping finance the remaining days of shooting in New York City in summer 2012 to complete the film.
- McNary, Dave (February 17, 2012). "Maya closes 'Ass Backwards' deals". Variety. Retrieved 2012-09-21.
- The Wrap
- "Ass backwards Amazon.com details". November 25, 2013.
- "Ass Backwards". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- "Ass Backwards". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- Abele, Robert (November 7, 2013). "Review: Beauty queen wannabes can't muster laughs in 'Ass Backwards'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- Harvey, Dennis (24 January 2013). "Review: 'Ass Backwards'". Variety. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- Packham, Chris (November 5, 2013). "In Ass Backwards, UCB Alums Provide Terrifying and Very Funny Insanity". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- June and Casey. "Save our Asses". Kickstarter. Kickstarter, Inc. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- Grondahl, Paul (2012-08-23). "Left for dead, movie is revived". Retrieved 2012-09-21.