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October 29, 2008
DVD REVIEW: The Foot
A mega-low-budget comedy that has earned the love of the
Hollywood comedic establishment and won its star a spot in the Judd
Apatow acting company, The Foot Fist Way has arrived on DVD. Is
it up to the hype? In a few places, yes.
The film, directed by Jody Hill, was shot, in 19 days, in a
documentary-like style similar to that of The Office, with a
budget of under $80,000. It showed at Sundance a couple of years ago and
finally got a theatrical and then DVD release this year. The gags are a
mix of broad physical comedy and Curb Your Enthusiasm-like cringe
humor, while the title comes from the literal translation of "taekwando."
Danny McBride, seen more recently in such big-budget comedies
as Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express, stars in the film
as Fred Simmons, the owner of a third-rate Taekwondo dojo in small-town
Living with his trashy wife (Mary Jane Bostic), Fred tries to
inspire his charges with sometimes unorthodox methods, such making kids
call him "sir," exposing them to extreme violence and telling a female
student she should take up the sport in order to prevent "gang rape."
Fred and a couple of his students, however, get more than they bargained
for when they meet his hero, a Chuck Norris-like martial arts action
star (Ben Best).
The Foot Fist Way
is at its best with its use of deadpan humor, as well as the Simmons
character, a wonderful comic creation who portended really memorable
characters played by McBride in the Apatow movies. A strange guy in a
small town who incongruously drives a Ferrari, Simmons is a much more
original creation than your typical lead character in a Hollywood film.
Where the movie steps wrongly is with some of the physical
gags, which are hit or miss, as well as the generally creepy aspect of
Simmons saying and doing inappropriate things in front of children, and
in some cases their parents. Why would any parent allow their kid to
spend time with this guy? People who take the tenets of martial arts
seriously might be downright offended by this movie as well.
The Foot Fist Way
may be imperfect and even reprehensible at times, but isn't totally
without laughs – in fact, it's got quite a few. Dollar for dollar, the
movie's laugh rate isn't bad at all.
2.5 stars out of 4
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