Ass Backwards

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Ass Backwards
Ass Backwards film.jpg
Directed byChris Nelson
Produced byHeather Rae
Molly Conners
Written byJune Diane Raphael
Casey Wilson
StarringJune Diane Raphael
Casey Wilson
Alicia Silverstone
Jon Cryer
Vincent D'Onofrio
Brian Geraghty
Bob Odenkirk
Paul Scheer
Jon Paul Phillips
Prominent Pictures
Worldview Entertainment
Distributed byGravitas Ventures
Release date
  • January 21, 2013 (2013-01-21) (Sundance Film Festival)
  • November 8, 2013 (2013-11-08) (United States)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States

Ass Backwards is an American female buddy road trip comedy film written by and starring June Diane Raphael and Casey Wilson. The film is directed by Chris Nelson and produced by Heather Rae.

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.

Screenwriters Casey Wilson (left) and June Diane Raphael (right) with director Chris Nelson (center) at the Outfest 2013 premiere.

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.[1]



The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on January 21, 2013. It made its Los Angeles premiere at the Outfest Film Festival on July 13, 2013.[2]

Since its Sundance premiere, the film was acquired by Gravitas Ventures, who announced its VOD release for September 30, 2013 before its theatrical release on November 8, 2013.[3]

Home media[edit]

Ass Backwards was released on DVD on January 28, 2014.[4]


The film has received mixed reactions from critics. The A.V. Club,,,, 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.[5] 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.[6]

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".[7] 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".[8] 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".[9]

While more positive reactions to the film included 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 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 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,[10] 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.[11]


  1. ^ McNary, Dave (February 17, 2012). "Maya closes 'Ass Backwards' deals". Variety. Retrieved 2012-09-21.
  2. ^
  3. ^ The Wrap
  4. ^ "Ass backwards details". November 25, 2013.
  5. ^ "Ass Backwards". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Ass Backwards". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  7. ^ Abele, Robert (November 7, 2013). "Review: Beauty queen wannabes can't muster laughs in 'Ass Backwards'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  8. ^ Harvey, Dennis (24 January 2013). "Review: 'Ass Backwards'". Variety. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  9. ^ Packham, Chris (November 5, 2013). "In Ass Backwards, UCB Alums Provide Terrifying and Very Funny Insanity". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  10. ^ June and Casey. "Save our Asses". Kickstarter. Kickstarter, Inc. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  11. ^ Grondahl, Paul (2012-08-23). "Left for dead, movie is revived". Retrieved 2012-09-21.

External links[edit]