The Foot Fist Way – review
I have been told that Danny R. McBride from The Foot Fist Way had been noticed by the likes of Will Ferrell thanks to a Sundance screening in 2006. The movie tells the story of a Tae Kwon Do instructor named Fred Simmons who seems (at first glance) a hapless man who spends most of his time disappointing his promiscuous wife. As it becomes clear, this first impression is quite correct but his life seems to fall apart (in his eyes) once his wife admits to being unfaithful.
The Foot Fist Way plays very much like a mockumentary would, with partially covered camera shots and not the most natural of focusing. You'd think then that this would be incorporated into the storyline. Instead however, it is clear that the film is not a mock-documentary but merely a more natural filming style. This seems a little odd at first as you feel that what you are watching is forced.
In truth I am one of those individuals that do not quite "get" these type of uncomfortable-style filming. The embarrassment factor (for myself) is just too much that I am unable to see the humour. Take UK version of "The Office" for example. David Brent's self righteous attitude and painfully embarrassing behaviour only makes me hide behind my hand the more and laugh on only rare occasions. It is like that for me with most mockumentaries. The only exception to this rule is that of the excellent "Kenny" which told the sad (but very amusing) tale of an Port-a-loo cleaner and driver.
We are introduced to the life of Fred Simmons on a small publicity drive for his Tae Kwon Do classes; badly assisted by his ever faithful students which include a master turn from the child actor Spencer Moreno (as Julio). It is not long before his ever suffering wife admits to "after work activities" with her workmates and our "hero" falls apart. This is more uncomfortable than amusing and is not acted as well as it should be. Indeed Simmons' chatting up of his latest female student (Denise) is perhaps one of the most uncomfortable scenes I have had to watch. Collette Wolfe who plays Denise, responds accordingly and yet somehow more politely than most would in her situation.
There are only a few laugh out loud moments in the movie and most of them are due to physical abuse that the students receive. However just when you think the film is going to get worse, an "old friend" in the guise of Mike McAlister (played by the co-writer and director Jody Hill) comes to visit. His integration into the plot is very welcome and he manages to be equally as embarrassing as Danny R McBride's character and yet much more amusing.
I'll admit that by the time the credits started rolling, I for one was rooting for Fred Simmons and yet felt disappointed by the short amount of time that Jody Hill was on screen. If Will Ferrell put his name on the movie due to Danny McBride's performance (for marketing purposes), then I would urge Mr Ferrell to look at the true funnyman behind the movie. Jody Hill is clearly the individual to focus on. His screen presence is so much more powerful than McBride's and his ability to deliver lines is a great deal more amusing. I can only hope that we see more of Jody Hill both in front of the camera as well as behind.
Overall "The Foot Fist Way" was somewhat of a disappointment. You couldn't help but wonder why they decided not to incorporate the "documentary feel" into the piece. A great deal more material could have been made from it. It is a good effort By Jody Hill, Danny R. McBride and Ben Best but in comparison to the eloquence of a little known Australian film named "Kenny" it pales. I'm Sorry Mr McBride, but David Brent you are not (and I don't like him that much).
2.5 out of 5