The Foot Fist Way
Look out, bad ass coming through.

Theatrical Release Date: 06/06/2008
Director: Jody Hill
Cast: Danny McBride, Mary Jane Bostic, Spencer Moreno, Ben Best, Carlos Lopez, Collette Wolfe, Jody Hill

Hoping to be 2008′s “Napoleon Dynamite”, “The Foot Fist Way” is now kicking its way onto screens nationwide.

The film centers on a martial arts instructor (Danny McBride), who thinks himself a far better fighter than he is, a far more intelligent man than he is, and as someone who has far more control over the world around him than he does (though he does drive around in the same make and color Ferrari as Magnum P.I.).

He gets this skewed look at the world via the people around him. His students listen to what he says, and for no good reason, believe his claims of fighting ability and he’s married to a woman (Mary Jane Bostic) who could easily be labeled “trophy wife” – from her looks, to her personality, to her fidelity.

As the story unfolds, McBride is forced to confront his wife’s wandering ways and the disappointing reality of his favorite martial artist/action film star, Chuck “The Truck” Wallace (Ben Best). It’s a mix of politically incorrect humor, physical violence and a similar uncomfortable quality to the character’s and their actions as if it were a mockumentary.

I like McBride in roles like this, it’s kind of like Farva from “Super Troopers” running a dojo. I’d seen him before in a supporting role in one of my favorite films, “All the Real Girls” and so I felt a connection to the character. His deluded notion of the quality of his martial arts skills is pathetically funny and his approach to the problems in his marriage clearly could use some professional help.

Writer/director Jody Hill cast himself as another martial artist wannabe and his dry delivery style worked well. Ben Best’s performance as a D-list action star was good, it’s hard not to like a “film star” more interested in money and women than how good his films are. I also liked the senior students of the dojo, who follow McBride’s lead, even though any rational person would have left that place faster than Superman rushing home with the runs.

While their acting worked within the limited, to-be-expected confines of the production, Mary Jane Bostic’s portrayal of McBride’s wife is an event to behold … because it is TERRIBLE. If Bostic is acting dumb and like she doesn’t know how to act, give her seven Oscars right now. Right now, dammit! I can only describe this performance as porn-worthy. It’s truly terrible … but somehow tragically funny … like train wreck funny … which is only fun for those not on the train … and me.

Morally wrong humor can be a soft spot for me … and I appreciated that the film took the extra step when necessary to stay over the line. However, the apparent production value makes the film look like something you’d see on Comedy Central in the middle of a weekday afternoon. Unless word of mouth spreads on this like wildfire, the end result will likely be a lot less money for the producers and distributor of this film.

Now, if you don’t mind crappy production, like watching idiots with no skills fight each other and can appreciate a film of this genre, then by all means go out and see it. While this won’t necessarily leave a lasting mark on your psyche, there’s a certain cult quality to it that makes it fun. I’m going to give “The Foot Fist Way” a 3 out of 5. It appears to accomplish what the filmmakers intended and it kept me chuckling.

As a completely random sidenote – as I was watching the credits roll by, I noticed that Erin Fisher was the film’s assistant art director and had a very minor role in the production as well. I wondered if it was the same Erin Fisher from one of my favorite films of the year, “Quiet City“. A quick browse on the Internet and my guess was confirmed. Just random, I tell you.

And since I did appreciate many of the little elements in scenes, like McBride’s certificates and the decor of his house (the bedroom is Myrtle Beach inspired), kudos to Ms. Fisher for her help in any and all of that. (Call me … and take off the restraining order.)