Gotcha! is a metaphor about the dangers boys face when transitioning into men. It touches on highly charged political issues of the time, and highlights Americanism and the role it plays on the international stage. I made it for money, a fat, steaming, “fuck you, that’s my name” pile of money.

Because Anthony Micheal Hall was busy ruining Saturday Night Live, I had to go with one of Hollywood’s lesser nerds named Anthony for the title role. Anthony Edwards plays Gotcha!, a kind of village idiot of old updated to modern times by being a “Campus Idiot”. He’s not really a student, but they let him wear a backpack and attend classes anyway because they don’t want to hurt his feelings. His assisted living sponsor pretends to be a student too, just to keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn’t get hurt. Sometimes the teachers even call on him when he raises his hand. They don’t expect much though, because the only thing he knows how to say is his name, Gotcha!

The campus is so understanding that it even tolerates Gotcha!’s favorite game. When “between classes” he stalks other students and shoots their private parts with a paintball gun. The assaulted students look pissed until he pops out of the bushes and says, “Gotcha!” at which they patiently smile and say, “You sure did, little buddy!” It’s just taken for granted at this school that your ass, crotch, and boobs are not 100% yours.

Gotcha! is so encouraged that he sometimes asks women to have sex with him. Unfortunately, this is one line most women are unwilling to cross in the name of being nice to the less fortunate. It’s a brave thing to say no to Gotcha! because even if you run away afterwords, he’s still gonna chase you down and shoot you in the ass. “Gotcha!”

After a while, the campus finally doles out its last bit of sensitivity regarding Gotcha!. They come up with a plan to ship him to France and see what they think. His assisted living sponsor comes along for the ride because he figures he can help Gotcha! get laid. His theory is, if Gotcha! were to finally have sex, it might help him not be stupid anymore. I just want to be really clear on this. Gotcha! is not mentally retarded, he’s just a severely stupid crazy person.

Gotcha! has a much better time communicating in France because no one expects him to know English. Also, customs took away his paintball gun on the way in. So he’s two for two as far as being mistaken for normal goes. The assisted living sponsor likes those odds so much that he cuts Gotcha!’s tether and simply watches from the sidelines as Gotcha! weaves his particular brand of off-beat magic.

It takes about two minutes before Gotcha! is chatting it up with a prospective virginity killer. She tells him how much she likes men who don’t talk, men with no chest hair, men who are very young, and men who haven’t had sex yet. There’s a moment of silence, after which she looks down and adds, “I also love men who just crapped their pants.” What she doesn’t tell him is that she’s actually a man herself. Hiding underneath a menu on the other side of the restaurant, the assisted living sponsor shrugs off what he considers to be a small technicality.

Gotcha! and Getcha! go to a hotel and have sex. By the time they are done, Gotcha! has gained the ability to say one new word: “Ow”. They have sex again and he learns how to say “I love you”. By the end of a full day’s humping, he can do up to five Austin Powers impressions. Lying underneath the bed, his assisted living sponsor congratulates himself on a job well done. He goes back to America the next day and attempts to put back together the life that has been destroyed since taking on the Gotcha! case.

Now that Getcha! has Gotcha! all to herself, she starts planning a very short future for him. “Come with me to Berlin,” she asks. He agrees because he thinks he’s finally going to get to hear “Take my Breath Away” live. They go from West Berlin, where they drink beer and laugh a lot, to East Berlin, where they get shot at and frown pretty much often. As it turns out, Getcha!, while lying about being a woman, is also lying about liking Gotcha! What she really wants to do is smuggle some top secret shit from the Stasi. Since they are wise to her bullshit, she needs a poor American dupe to carry the goods out for her. Well, she sure as hell found one.

When Getcha! gets captured, murdered, strip searched, pooped on, and thoroughly photographed, Gotcha! is on his own. What follows is one of those scenarios where smart people with guns chase after an idiot who’s own stupidity and clumsiness end up repeatedly saving him. I guess it’s kind of like Mr. Magoo. Or Forrest Gump. He makes it all the way back to America. Once there, he looks at the camera and says, “Now we’re on MY turf” on about five separate occasions.

He goes to his old apartment to find his assisted living sponsor. “Help Gotcha!” he says. “The bad guys are after Gotcha! Guns go bang by Gotcha!’s earholes!”

“Gotcha! is that you?” the sponsor asks. “Your English is so much better! You’ve really made some tremendous strides!”

“Yes. Gotcha! has learned many things in his travels. When this over, Gotcha want to be college student for weal…for real.”

Happier than words can describe, the assisted living sponsor beams with pride until his head gets blown off by a Stasi. Gotcha! is so surprised that he slips on some rollerskates and falls face-first into a coconut cream pie, thus avoiding death yet again.

He runs to campus. Tons of people give him thumbs up for how much smarter he looks, but he ignores them. In the girl’s locker room, hidden right behind the video camera, he finally finds what he’s been looking for: his backup paintball gun. Or so he thinks. It’s actually a real gun. He just didn’t know the difference when he bought it off a security guard and hid it all those years ago. He cocks it and looks at the camera. “Now we’re on MY turf!”

Gotcha! doesn’t really know who’s a Stasi and who’s a student, so he just kills every forty year old male in a suit. When the smoke clears, the body count is five Stasi and only one innocent, which really impresses people, especially the police. “You should come work for us,” they say in a friendly, condescending tone.

“No thanks,” Gotcha! replies. “Gotcha! want education. Gotcha! learned sex in France and want more. Gotcha! getting PHD in getting it on. Gotcha! a man now!”

Six months later, Gotcha! hasn’t earned himself any more sex but his intellect has continued to improve. Instead of hunting people on campus, he’s president of the University’s Paintball club and he kicks ass at it. After brutally winning a 1 against 100 deathmatch, the army gets interested in his faux murder skills. But when they run his name through the computers, the unresolved incident in Berlin comes up. They trash his house and find the smuggled roll of film that he never knew about. He is charged with international treason and executed by firing squad. Before the credits roll, we decided to flash the word “GOTCHA!” on the screen so everyone could still go home with a smile on their face. As it turns out, no one was depressed by the ending because no one saw the film.

(three stars)