Remember those Fridays before the start of Christmas break where your teacher would basically plan a whole day of fun stuff to do, usually including festive art projects, baked goods, games, and possibly a movie? Well, for some insane reason, not one but two of my elementary school teachers thought that The Peanut Butter Solution was an appropriate choice to usher out the school day and kick off vacation. Instead, it scarred me for life.
When an abandoned house burns to the ground with homeless squatters inside, Mike (Mathew Mackay) and his best friend Conrad (Siluck Saysanasy a.k.a. Yick from Degrassi Junior High) are impressed and intrigued as only eleven-year-olds can be. After school, they pick their way through the debris, but Michael goes farther, crawling up this creepy chute and into the house, defying Conrad’s stern warnings. Inside the house, Michael sees something so terrifying that all of his hair stands straight on end. He lets out a blood curdling scream, slides back down the chute, and has to be taken home in a shopping cart. The next morning, Michael wakes up bald.
Most parents would be at their wit’s end if their kid were wheeled home in a shopping basket in such a state of shock that all of his hair fell out. Not Michael’s dad. He’s this vaguely flaky painter who just sort of slaps Michael on the back and says, “Golly son, looks like you had a fright!” Meanwhile, you scream on the inside as you watch from your little plastic chair in your darkened classroom. And, like, it’s school, so you can’t leave the room or do something else: this is compulsory viewing of The Peanut Butter Solution. You will never be right again.
Naturally, Michael is pretty traumatized by his sudden lack of hair, and after dealing with severe depression, despondency, and some mad teasing, he resorts to The Peanut Butter Solution, a recipe for hair growth given to him (either in a dream or actually in his kitchen) by the GHOSTS OF THE HOBOS WHO DIED IN THE FIRE. Perfect! This is going to turn out really well.
And it does. Michael grows miles of hair. He grows so much hair that you can trim it and watch it get longer at the same time. Conrad is inspired to borrow some solution and put it “down there”, with cringe-inducing results. You think I’m kidding? His jumpstart on manhood leaves him with hair growing out his pantlegs and pooling on the floor, and then, even though Michael’s hair refuses to stop growing, Conrad’s little experiment is never mentioned again. Is he left with ever-growing pubes? You’ll go to your grave wondering.
Are you scarred yet? Because this is just the beginning. I haven’t even touched on Michael’s repellent mushmouth sister who bangs around the house like a middle aged woman. Or his evil, pervy art teacher. Or the kidnappings and forced labor of little children from school. Or the magical paintbrushes made from Michael’s soft, peanut buttery hair with bristles so long and floppy that you’d be lucky to paint a solid-colored wall with them, much less a detailed scene. But wait! Nevermind! These brushes produce sparkling, animated paintings that you can actually walk into! You know, cause that’s a thing. And no one in the movie seems to think any of this is weird. As Mushmouth and Conrad discuss the disappearing children, Conrad casually adds, “Oh yeah, my little sister’s missing too.” And you’re sitting around a friend’s house shooting the breeze?!?! What kind of bizarre universe is this?
Alas, it’s Canada, but I still don’t think that excuses the complete and total freak show that is The Peanut Butter Solution. And the Canadians must have thought it was normal, because they called in their number one wunderkind Celine Dion to sing two epic songs for the movie. I’m no longer an eleven year old trapped in a classroom, and still I am confused – confused as to how anyone thought all of this was appropriate for kids and confused as to how to get it out of my head. I can’t even tell you whether the movie is good or bad. All I can do is warn that it will linger in your darkest thoughts for the rest of your life. Happy vacation, kids!