Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fubar 2

There’s a scene in Fubar 2 when a now bearded Tron actually shows up to Deaner’s party to celebrate his friend's winning the battle against testicular cancer. Tron, the infamous party pooper from Fubar, finds out that actually the party has double edged significance because Dean and best buddy Terry are being evicted from their house. Tron declares they ruin the place and after the house is demolished and set on fire, Tron runs down a smoke-filled hall towards the camera, chainsaw in hand to the rumblings of some 80s hard rock before the title blazes across the screen. Apparently director Michael Dowse decided this time out he wanted to make a real narrative film with some aesthetic worth and forgot in the process exactly what made the original Fubar so special. The original film’s documentary style ensured that there was no aesthetic pretension on display and the result was a hilarious mockumentary in which the biggest joys were simply in hanging out and watching this two morons go about their lives. By, to a large extent, ignoring the documentary style in the sequel, the film now feels rigid and structured. Terry and Deaner are still the same lovable boobs but their medium has confined them to a plot that isn’t as interesting as just watching them, well, be themselves. The story this time finds bumbling Canadian mullet-heads Dean (Paul Spence), cancer free after losing a testicle in the first film, and Terry (David Lawrence) being Terry. However, out of money and being promised a job by best friend Troy (a.k.a Tron) out on the oil patch of Fort McMurry, the boys saddle up (all they possess seems to be the clothes on their backs, their old beater and the skid of beer in the trunk) and head North to make some bread. Not surprisingly, they are both nearly incompetent on the job (the film’s biggest laugh comes from their watching a video on workplace safety). Terry tries, God bless him, but he doesn’t have a brain in his head, while Dean tries to amuse himself by doing anything other than actual work. He’s so bad that he gets it in his head that if he fakes an accident on site he can live off workers comp. Tron agrees to help for a 50/50 split. Meanwhile Terry falls hard for Trish (Terra Hazelton), a local bartender. When Terry describes her as his girlfriend all the oil men laugh. She’s more like all of their girlfriends, if he gets the drift. Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t. This inevitably drives a wedge between Terry, who wants to settle down and Dean who wants to keep on partying hard with his best pal. There’s also a cheap subplot out Dean’s cancer coming back, forcing him into a suicidal funk. If you think I’ve given away a major spoiler, I haven’t because the cancer issue, unlike the first time around, is here used simply as a convenience for the plot. It's as if Dowse and co-writers Spence and Lawrence thought the story had to actually go somewhere and prove something (the late appearance from a character from the first film is especially a low point). But that was what made the first film so much fun. It had nothing to prove and no one to prove it to. It played by its own rules and by being about nothing really in particular except these two guys, it was hilarious. This sequel tries its hardest to recapture the spirit of that original film. It’s bigger, more professional looking, and has more hardcore partying as if that’s what these three thought made the first film a comic treasure. But there’s not a lot of heart in just watching these guys getting wasted or spinning their wheels within a routine plot. Lawrence and Spence, when they are allowed to settle down and actually do their routine, play the characters for all they are worth, proving just how much fun these two guys can be. But stuck within the confines of a, more or less, conventional narrative, this sequel just can’t find the energy to really give’r.

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