10 July 2009 | Movie_Muse_Reviews
Not as funny as it could be, but there's potential here
Surprise hit comedies are generally the ones that feature a relatively under-exposed actor with great comedic talent in a central role. That is what Danny McBride as Fred Simmons is supposed to be. It's not a bad movie, but it scratches the surface of what it could be. It feels like "The Foot Fist Way" is the very long pilot of a TV series that didn't get picked up: like there was something more that needed to happen and characters that needed to be developed.
The film is a small character-driven comedy created by a trio of friends who have been nurtured by the Will Ferrell and Adam McKay screwball character movie teat. Danny McBride, the star, Jody Hill, director and supporting actor and Ben Best, supporting actor, all wrote the story of Simmons, a tae kwan do instructor in Alabama who's full of himself yet humbly insecure.
There's really no plot until halfway through the movie, giving it that episodic "this should be broken up into smaller, fleshed out parts" feel. Supporting characters jump in and out rather than contribute to a flowing narrative. The only thing that stays solid is the rocky relationship subplot between Simmons and his tall-built bimbo wife (a rather untalented Mary Jane Bostic).
Admirably, these three amigos try and create a character for McBride that is both a verbal machine gun of ridiculous phrases and someone who uses that same egotistical technique to work out his emotional problems. In other words, someone who is supposed to be hilarious but self-revealing at the same time -- a complex goofball. Their first trial run is hit or miss on the comedic end and just short on creating a meaningful character. McBride is capable, but they don't really push the concept hard enough.
A glorified TV episode might be all it is, but there's talent in this group of aspiring comedy filmmakers.