‘Spermageddon’ Review: Outrageously Raunchy Animated Feature Seems Destined for Cult Status

Somewhere between Sausage Factory and the world’s most inappropriate sex ed class lies Spermageddon, an animated feature from Norway that turns one of the body’s fluids into a gross-out comic spectacle. If you didn’t know that sperm cells could sing, dance, read science textbooks and make lots of butt jokes, well now you know.

Hatched from the minds of director Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow, The Trip) and animator Ramsus A. Silversten (Bold Eagles), the movie is both an illustrative teaching tool for adolescents curious about the inner workings of their private parts, and a button-pushing, secretion-shooting exploitation flick aiming to get laughs out of everything from masturbation to contraception to the formation of bowel movements.

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Premiering in Annecy’s Midnight Special section, Spermageddon will play best with the kind of rowdy late-night audience looking for a good time, both on the screen and perhaps off it. Otherwise, the film is clearly not meant for kids, even if its underlying message about birth control and consensual sex could be construed as educational.

The scholastic side of Wirkola and Silversten’s raunchy cartoon is evident from the opening scene, in which an old-school public service video reveals the dangers sperm face when exiting the body through you-know-what and winding up anywhere — such as in a dirty sock or on someone’s backside — except inside a female egg meant to be fertilized.

The video is being screened for a classroom that includes the bookish spermatozoon, Simen, and his best gal pal, Cumilla. (Note that every name and half the dialogue in Spermageddon consist of such puns in Norwegian. Kudos for whoever translated all of that into English subtitles.) The two soon launch into a song-and-dance number, entitled “In the Ballsack,” where we learn how they live along with millions of other sperm inside the testicles of Jens, a nerdy Norwegian teen who cares more about Star Wars and video games than having sex — much to the chagrin of all his eager reproductive cells.

Throughout the film we cut between the microscopic universe of the sperm, and the regular adolescent life of Jens, who against all odds hooks up on a summer camping trip with a girl named Lisa. The two have sex for the first time and then several times after, in various positions and with varying degrees of success. Meanwhile, Simen and Cumilla join the scores of sperm swimming their way out of Jens’ urethra with the high hopes of impregnating Lisa, who keeps trying to thwart them.

If you think a scene of sperm cells fleeing from killer spermicide gel, like humans running away from the zombies in World War Z, is funny, then Spermageddon is probably up your alley. Ditto a scene that has Simen and Cumilla bravely navigating through Lisa’s large intestine — please don’t ask how they got there — and crossing paths with a friendly E. coli bacterium, who eats his way into a giant pile of poop to save them.

The directors take some liberties with the human body, but their film is more or less anatomically correct, especially when it comes to depicting the contraception methods Lisa uses to do away with Simen and Cumilla. It’s definitely a little weird, as a viewer, to be put in the position where you actually want the sperm cells to succeed, because that means a 16-year-old girl will get unwillingly pregnant.

But Spermageddon is a weird movie — and one whose open-minded politics, whether about teen sex or the benefits of birth control, likely would never pass muster in the U.S. but seem right at home in Scandinavia.

That said, the film feels entirely American with its slick 3D animation style and comic hijinks, which include references to Inside Out (little creatures controlling your brain using a giant computer) or Marvel movies (an alpha male sperm named Jizzmo dons a superhero suit straight out of Iron Man).

And let’s not forget the handful of musical sequences where hundreds of little sperm cells dance together in unison, like a Busby Berkeley number staged inside a condom. So much crude humor can grow exhausting in places — how many puns do we really need that employ the term “cum”? — but the filmmakers manage to keep things fast-paced and funny enough until we reach the final, ugh, climax.

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