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Film / The Peanut Butter Solution

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The Peanut Butter Solution is an aggressively odd Canadian children's film from 1985, part of the Tales for All series, which many adults mistake for a fever-dream they had as a child. But no, it's an actual film that actually exists.

The film concerns Michael, a regular schoolkid with an evil art teacher. One day, Michael meets some ghosts, which causes all of his hair to fall out. Luckily, these ghosts just happen to know of a magical hair growth solution. What are the odds? Of course, Michael puts too much peanut butter in the hair solution, and now his hair is growing too damn fast! "Well," you ask, "why doesn't he just yell at his hair?" Yeah, that would work, but he gets kidnapped first. Now I bet you're thinking, "It must be Michael's evil art teacher who wants to harvest Michael's hair to make magical paintbrushes." Wow, you're way ahead of us. Things get pretty bad for Michael and his buddies, but everything works out in the end. What an adventure!

Notable for having songs performed by a then-teenaged Céline Dion, the English versions of which were the first English-language recordings she ever made (though she didn't speak the language yet).

Provides Examples Of:

  • Art Initiates Life: The magic paintbrushes.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Michael loses his hair from getting "the Fright." The doctor explains, "The proper medical term is Hair-em Scare-em." It later gets passed on to The Signor during the climax.
  • Baldness Mockery: During Michael's soccer game, his wig gets ripped off by one of the boys and every kid there (except for Connie) chase Michael and make fun of him being bald as he runs away.
  • Body Horror: Michael's hair falls out, causing him quite a bit of anguish. Then his hair grows at a freakish rate.
  • Canada, Eh?: Filmed in Montreal. Everyone speaks English, but there are signs and newspaper headlines in French, and a few characters have French accents. Plus, it has songs sung (in both the English and French versions) by Céline Dion.
  • Central Theme: Imagination. Michael paints a fire around the Signor's dog because he imagines it, and the Signor chastises him to only paint what he sees. Michael's father paints strange pictures from his imagination. When challenged that a painting isn't realistic, he counters that if he wanted realism, he'd take a picture. Later, the captured kids discover that the Signor has been painting only fantastical scenes and must convince him to paint something that really exists. However, when Connie insists that the he paint Michael's fire, the Signor protests that the paintbrush has never "seen the fire" and therefore can't paint it.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Suzie and Connie just happen to buy a paintbrush for Billy while Michael is kidnapped, and it's a paintbrush made by the Signor out of Michael's hair.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted. The Signor takes his dog everywhere and paints him into all of his paintings. But in the final act, he laments that he has no friends or children, just a dog.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Everyone calls the Signor the Signor. Several people note that he has no other name, though it's eventually revealed that he used to be called Sergio.
  • Evil Teacher: The Signor, the evil art teacher.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Everyone tends to say "Holy shmoly," though the first time Billy says it, it comes out, "Holy sh..."
  • Hand Wave: The Running Gag of Connie's pubic hair finishes off when he starts yelling at his hair to stop growing. I guess that's one way to end a plot thread.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: Many children are kidnapped including the lead character, Michael. Understandably, parents are worried sick.
  • Kids Are Cruel: When Michael tries to hide his baldness under a wig at a soccer game, some of the other kids rip it off his head, causing him to run home and cry.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Starting with the protagonist losing his hair in a haunting, and moving on from there...
  • Never Trust a Hair Tonic: The eponymous solution, which works a little too well with too much peanut butter.
  • Non-Specifically Foreign: It's never specified where the Signor and his brothers are from. They have thick Francophone accents and are played by French Canadians, but the Signor has an Italian nickname, and he used to go by Sergio, which also suggests he's Italian, but it's not clear whether even Sergio was his original name.
  • Police Are Useless: Suzie says that Billy is a hundred times smarter than "those old cops." It's up to the family and Connie to rescue Michael. When the family finally rescue the kids, it's Billy who jumps in first, followed by a few cops.
  • Product Placement: The peanut butter in question is Skippy brand.
  • Rapid Hair Growth: The peanut butter solution causes this due to Michael using too much peanut butter.
  • Signature Headgear: Connie wears a black porkpie hat whenever he's out and about, showing that he's a bold and confident kid.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Signor
  • Sympathy for the Devil: In the final act, Connie convinces the Signor to adopt him as his son, and the Signor immediately starts treating him and the rest of the kidnapped kids better. They're conflicted about their feelings about him when they defeat him.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: Connie jumps in the back of the Signor's truck and pours sugar out that back so Suzie can follow them to the Signor's hideout, but a street sweeper erases the trail.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The kids in the brush factory have to make 500 brushes a day, which means the factory creates 10,000 a day. The Signor is apparently making all deliveries himself, from a single van, so it's anyone's guess how he's unloading these tens of the thousands of brushes he's apparently creating.