Rick and Ruby: two buddies confront pop culture stereotypes in gory fashion

Scott Woodburn, “Rick and Ruby” (2019)

Playing like an episode in a never-ending road-movie series across America, “Rick and Ruby” is a buddy mini-movie packing comedy, horror, grindhouse tropes, vengeance and various clashes of cultural polarities in American culture. Late one evening, leather-clad badass chick Ruby (Ellie Lee) turns up at a sleazy roadhouse bar in a remote corner of the US Midwest or Deep South with a large trunk in tow. Bartender Larry (Chip Ramsey) and regular customers Chick (Kyle Minshew) and Lou (Doug McCue) decide to have some rough fun with Ruby and throw her onto the pool table. A bit of split blood on the floor gets Ellie’s trunk moving and soon it opens … with Rick (Samuel Dunning, who also wrote the script) popping out all dressed for a Miami beach trip. After the introductions, Larry and his pals start threatening Rick … and that’s when Rick quickly moves into action!

From here on the gore and the sick humour fly thick ‘n’ fast as Rick, despite his slender build, despatches Chick and Lou in short order while Ellie and Lou fight over the pool cue. Of course, viewers will have figured out early on why Ellie drags Rick around in a trunk during daylight hours … he’s a nocturnal sort and his diet is of a fresh if raw, salty liquid kind. While you really wouldn’t want to meet Rick on your own at 2am in the morning, you have to admit seeing him and Ellie dish out their version of frontier justice on three men who deserve what’s coming to them, after what they try to do to Ellie, is very satisfying indeed.

Perhaps the film pays a little too much nauseating attention to Rick enjoying himself at Larry’s expense while Ellie could do with some help playing tug-of-war over the pool cue with Lou, but I can’t help but laugh myself silly over this part of the film – it’s as gross and revolting as it is hilarious. The funniest part might be when Rick is licking the pool cue (after what it’s been through – ewww!) and slips and falls on the blood and guts all over the floor.

The film works well as a pilot trailer for a full-length film though I doubt that Rick and Ruby’s story and its grindhouse style would suit a television series. The gore and violence would quickly become repetitive, and more work would need to be done on the duo’s characters and their relationship.