Directors: Brandon & Jason Trost
Writers: Brandon & Jason Trost (Story by Jason Trost)
Like being sober at a party with a drunk guy telling the same story over and over again it was funny for the first 10 minutes or so but after that it is just annoying and boring and you want to leave but you don’t want to ditch your friends.
It is a tough thing to make a movie in a specific genre that is also commenting on the genre itself and be successful at it but it is possible to pull off. Just a month ago we were treated to the amazing meta-Horror/Comedy film The Cabin in the Woods, a love letter to everything we cherish and crave from the Horror genre. But it wasn’t just about appealing to those in the know, it was also a pretty kick-ass Horror flick that stayed interesting throughout and was one of the most fun and exciting experiences in the theatre in 2012. Which brings us to The FP, a movie that takes an 80s Sports movie like The Karate Kid and mashes it up with The Warriors and sets it in an alternate reality where the gangs settle their beefs and claimed turf via a dancing video game called Beat-Beat Revelation (think Dance-Dance Revolution).
You might say “Hey Jon! That sounds like a pretty funny movie to me!” and I would agree that it does sound funny. Stretched to feature length though, and barely at a short 82-minute runtime, the Trost Brothers couldn’t really seem to figure out how to keep the movie fresh. Instead we are treated to scene after scene of cameras circling around people doing repetitive video game dance choreography and characters talking in sentences made up almost entirely of expletives. Try imagining someone saying fuck every other word and if you would find it funny the first dozen times. How about the 152nd time? Or the 268th? 301st? No?
The main joke (singular) of the movie is that it is played totally seriously. While I did admire the commitment to the concept, when that is where 98% of the humor is supposed to come from there just aren’t enough laughs to hold a person’s attention. I had hope during the opening ten minutes in which a character named BTRO (Brandon Barrera) dies simply because he had lost his “Beat-Off” dance challenge to L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy) but those opening ten minutes of the movie pretty much hit its absurdist peak and from then on just goes on and on and never really ups the ante and made me care nor interested in what was going on.
After BTRO’s death his Brother JTRO (played by Co-Writer and Co-Director Jason Trost) vows never to play Beat-Beat again. Cut to a year later and the town desperately needs his help because the gangs reigning supreme in The FP (Frazier Park) are also controlling the liquor supply and therefore the town’s duck population is dwindling. They dance some more and curse and make outdated references to paging people’s beepers (get it? No one really uses them anymore!). It just kind of crawls to the ending where JTRO finally faces off against L Dubba E to avenge his Brother’s death where we watch yet another dance scene that is pretty much exactly the same as the one in the opening of the movie.
Co-Writer/Co-Director Brandon Trost has a lot of big budget experience as a cinematographer on movies like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Crank: High Voltage, and MacGruber, and for a low budget film The FP looks good and coupled with the hyperactive soundtrack the movie has the right appearance and feel. However from a script standpoint, the most important part of a comedy, it falls into a repetitive slump after the opening scene. All of the jokes are established in that opening and just repeated throughout the rest of the film without really expanding upon anything over the next 70 minutes. The filmmakers seemed to be more focused on getting the costumes, the looks and the music right, but not the heart. The thing about 80s movies that people remember and love is that as goofy and funny (intentionally or not) as they are to us now, they seem to be coming from a sincere place in the end. You really give a shit about seeing Danielson crane kicking Johnny in the face and winning the tournament. The FP seems to not totally understand that and instead goes for the easy surface parody without getting to the meat of what exactly it is parodying.