There is nothing worse than a one joke movie that knows it is a one joke movie. Take the like of Hobo With A Shotgun or Machete, love the films or hate them, the creators of both, after chortling over their titles for a few minutes, looked at each other and asked that crucial question, “ OK now what?”
This is a question that the makers of The FP never bothered to ask themselves. Machete and Hobo both stand as continuous experiments in topping themselves. Dedicated to show something crazier and filthier than what featured in the preceding scene every five minutes or so. Bound and determined to top the initial outlandishness of their premise, with say Lindsay Lohan dressed as a nun, Steven Seagal with a Samurai sword, or evil Daft Punk with a lynch gun.
The FP has no such lofty concerns. The premise of The FP is that in the small town of Frazier Park, (which looks roughly as threatening as Cambria) two rival gangs via for control of the area (it’s briefly insinuated that this is taking place in a Mad Max/Hobo With A Shotgun style soft apocalypse but this thread like anything else of interest in the film is quickly dropped). Their chosen methods for battling for dominance is a copyright free version of Dance Dance Revolution that occasionally yells at the players and eventually pronounces one of the duelers champ and the other chump.
In The FP everyone wears the type of self conscience eighties clothes that hipsters will eventually be forced to wear for all eternity in hell, speaks in a nightmarish patois of ghettospeak and white trash jargon and take their Dance Dance Revolution very seriously. That’s it, that’s the joke. The movie doesn’t bother having anymore so don’t go looking. You’ll only strain yourself.
Well that’s not quite true, the predominantly white and Asian cast ends every sentence with the word “Nig’” that might be a joke if you look at it the right way, I suppose. There are more on screen blow jobs than in Boogie Nights and that’s funny right? I mean Blow Jobs who isn’t shocked by those? Oh and there’s training montages just like in the eighties and and a used condom gets thrown in the face of two characters and and... I give up. All this cheerful vulgarity might have reached the level of early John Waters if the movie didn’t insist on being so fucking cute about it.
I can’t deny that a few laughs got startled out of me, (and truth in criticism the film does have one moment of almost brilliance when the love interest cries out, "How am I supposed to stand up for myself if their aint no one to stand up for me?"with an obliviousness that would make David St. Hubbins proud.) but the film shows what happens when a youtube short gets extened to feature length. Here’s a hint, it’s nothing good.
Drafthouse Films excites me like few things do right now. With their ever expanding network of theaters and strong vision and commitment behind it, Drafthouse Films has the opportunity to do nothing less than create an alternative universe of film. But if this is the best said universe has to offer perhaps they shouldn’t bother. By paying for it I have become part of the problem. I’ll be seeing Bullhead soon in penance.
I hereby pronounce The FP, Chump.