Around the time Troma majordomo Lloyd Kaufman shows up as boozed-up information merchant The Man in the Hat, though, Pearl Necklace shifts into being like watching a film while falling-down drunk: nothing makes sense, your head hurts and you just want everything to stop so you can go to sleep. The problem is that Demarbe and Driscoll never set up any sort of parameters for their universe, and while the film's first half may be amusing for that reason, the technique has a pretty short vanishing point.
If anything can happen, then the element of surprise that comes with inventing crazy new shit gets lost; when the element of surprise goes, so do the laughs and entertainment value. When Harry puts the smackdown on enemies the first couple times, it's fun, but when he does it for the fiftieth time, it's too much. Similarly, when El Santos flashes back to his childhood and is still wearing his platinum mask, that's hilarious; when he gets involved in a mock wedding ceremony that turns into a battle royale, that's not so much. (Maybe the latter is because genuine lucha libre films are ridiculous enough that any attempts to satirize them come off as weak - Nacho Libre suffered from much the same malady.) Demarbe and Driscoll have a modus operandi that is ideal for short bursts of insanity, but the two-hour canvas of Pearl Necklace proves to be exhausting.
There's a difference between absurdism and incoherence. With Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, Demarbe and Driscoll demonstrated they knew just how far they could go with the former without toppling over into the latter; with Harry Knuckles and the Pearl Necklace, they go hurtling over the edge at a million miles an hour. They're not the first filmmakers to be undone by the lures of excess, and they won't be the last. I still hold out hope for their next project, Black Kissinger, since Pearl Necklace at its most tiresome is still a lot more scrappy and likeable than your average summer-movie offering. I do hope, however, that they exercise a little more restraint the next time around.