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Arts and Entertainment

Movie Review: The Foot Fist Way

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Derek, have you got your cup on? Because I will hit you there. | Photo courtesy of Paramount Vantage

These days in Hollywood, ''low budget" films usually end up costing more than the runway rentals to land Steven Spielberg's ego. That's why it's so exciting to see truly low-budget films actually get made without all of the self-examination and scrutiny that comes with the ability to shoot more than one take. And it's even more fulfilling to have someone else notice.

The Foot Fist Way is the sort of mockumentary-without-breaking-the-third-wall-type of film that comedy snobs and repetitive teenagers constantly clamor for. Since being picked up as the marquee title to light up Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's new production company, Gary Sanchez Productions, it has started to garner the sort of attention that it (maybe) deserves.

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Your weakness is disgusting to me. | Photo courtesy of Paramount Vantage

Danny McBride shines brightly as Fred Simmons, the undefeated (and unchallenged) "King of theTae Kwon Do demo", whose macho skills don't actually extend much further than his mustache. When his well-written but occasionally underplayed wife (Mary Jane Bostic) hands in her rights to their marriage at a drunken office party, Fred starts down a path of comedy self-implosion that is littered with one-liners and begs for a final bit of triumph back at the dojo.

The only real problem with this movie is that its punches don't always deliver. While there are many character-driven comedies thriving in the movie market today, The Foot Fist Way acts more as a character-carjacking. The generally outstanding performance by McBride leaves many of the other characters struggling to keep up which can lead to the whole film (McBride included) losing focus. And while main man Fred Simmons shares qualities of guys that we have all come to recognize at our local Chili's, he is often without true depth or complexity. Rather than letting insecurity be the under card to machismo in this 90-minute boxing match, too often it is thrown out of the arena altogether and replaced by humorous but empty montages of board-breaking and weak-kneed children flailing about.

Perhaps the best triumph story of The Foot Fist Way occurs behind the camera as Jody Hill turns in a cleverly-directed film on a shoestring budget. But viewer be optimistically aware: fans looking for the next Napoleon Dynamite may leave disappointed. The Foot Fist Way just doesn't have the same quotability. Others looking for the next Christopher Guest ensemble piece may well also wish to add this flick to the "wait for rental" list. But for everyone else, it's easy to see why Will Ferrell loves this movie so much. Take one part athletics, six parts outlandish and self-absorbed leading man, add a pinch of mustache close-ups and you've got the recipe for one of Will's own movies. For all of its faults and its quiet obsession with an over-matched loser, The Foot Fist Way is a movie that ultimately wins.

Review by Farley Elliott