The Tao of the Butabis

A Night at the Roxbury opens with a shot of the Butabi brothers hitting the clubs, perfecting their dance moves and bopping their heads as they drive through the city, Haddaway’s “What Is Love” blasting in the background. 

Life is good, and the boys are feeling great, when suddenly, Doug hits the passenger’s side window with his head, smashing it into a thousand pieces. 

He looks at his brother, Steve, sheepishly. 

“I broke the window again,” he says then. 

That’s one of my all-time favourite movie lines, and also one that I quote frequently. Basically, every time I do something that is moderately stupid, but stupid enough to make me swear. 

I love how that one word adds another dimension to the story. Obviously, they’ve been at it before, and obviously, they haven’t learned anything. The “again” is such a clever way to convey to the viewers that these two guys are the opposite of clever.

But it doesn’t matter. They’re so happy together. 

A Night of the Roxbury was one of the last movies I saw in the 20th century. I caught it in a Stockholm theatre in the fall of 1999.

It was also the first movie Wife and I saw together. 

That anyone in Sweden got to watch the comedy masterpiece was all Wife’s doing. She had seen it in Wales earlier that year and had made multiple calls to the Swedish distributor, pestering them with requests to get at least one copy to a Stockholm theatre. 

And, when there’s a will, there’s a way. One day, Wife could proudly inform me and a few of her friends that the movie would be showing in a Stockholm downtown video. Who was in?

I was. So were all those friends of hers. 

But that was it. With the exception of the group that Wife had got together, the theatre was empty when the lights went down, the curtains opened, and “What Is Love” washed over us all. And we laughed and we laughed. Afterwards, we all went to the Burger King around the corner, bopping our heads, humming “What Is Love.”

Like Haddaway, I didn’t have the answer – but I had a pretty good idea. 

Wife and I have been quoting the movie to each other ever since. Some of our favourites, besides the the window quote, include “Emilioooo, the Mighty Duck himself”, “Are you brothers?” followed by a very Nineties “No … yeeeees”, and “did you just grab my ass?”

(The correct answer to the last one is, “From where I’m standing, that’s a physical impossibility.”)

The other day, I cut my hand on a sharp metal rod as I was locking up my bike, but didn’t even realize it until I saw the blood dripping down my wrist. 

Then I did it again. 

And as I write this, there’s a fresh wound on my hand, from the same damn bike, in the same damn hand. Three parallel scratches, as if I were an Olympic athlete sponsored by Adidas. 

This afternoon, when Wife got home, the newest one was still bleeding so I had some paper wrapped around my wrist. 

“Broke the window again?” she asked me. 

“No … yeeeees,” I said, shaking my head, feeling like an idiot. 

But not really. Besides, it didn’t matter. 

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