Rob Rienier's groundbreaking film This is Spinal Tap created
a new genre of movies; the unscripted fake documentary. While it
might not have been the first such film, it was the most popular and influenced
many filmmakers. Among those effected were Mike Dowse, Dave Lawrence,
and Paul Spence, the writers, director and actors in Fubar, a mockumentary
about a pair of heavy metal head-bangers living in Canada.
Fubar (though never mentioned in the movie stands for "F'ed Up
Beyond All Reason") is the illegitimate offspring between This is Spinal
Tap and Strange Brew. Taking Spinal Tap's ad-libbed
style, and Strange Brew's north of the border humor and love of
beer, the creators have created something that is not as funny as their
inspiration, but still an amusing and entertaining film.
Dean Murdoch and Terry Cahill are two aging slackers. They have
menial jobs, when they work at all, and spend most of their time shot-gunning
beers and yelling out the window as they drive down the street. Terry
plays bass guitar, badly, but isn't in a band, and Dean doesn't seem to
do much of anything. The filmmakers show the pair of friends going
to ball games and heckling the player, getting drunk, and basically hanging
The movie takes a more serious turn about 1/3 of the way through when
Dean finds out he has testicular cancer. Now, most people will admit
that there is very little that is funny about cancer, but it seems that
no one ever told the writers this fact. The main plot of the film
is how these two bangers deal with the fact that one of them has a serious
form of cancer. There were still some humorous moments after this
revelation, but I felt that the movie went down hill from there.
While I can see the reason that the creators included this device, the
movie needs a theme after all, I thought this cast a pall over the whole
movie and made it much harder to get laughs.
There are many amusing scenes, and several hilarious ones. I really
enjoyed the part where Terry and Dean are waiting for a friend to show
up for a night of drinking, but he never does. The pair starts the
evening talking about how great it will be when Tron shows up since he's
such a party animal. But as the night wears on and they get more
and more inebriated, their praise of their friend turns into animosity,
and ends with them spray painting misspelled insults to Tron on walls and
The acting was very good. I could have sworn that Dave Lawrence
and Paul Spence were drunk through most of the filming. They played
the drunken losers to perfection, capturing all the little traits that
burned out party animals have. There was several times in the movie
that I'd laugh and think, "Hey, I know that guy."
The stereo soundtrack was adequate. Since they were going for
the feel of a documentary, the sound wasn't very clean but the dialog was
generally easy to understand. The overdubbed heavy metal soundtrack
was forceful and sounded good, better than the rest of the film.
Unfortunately, the letterboxed picture was not enhanced for widescreen
televisions. The picture quality wasn't very high, but it fit in
with the documentary nature of the film. Looking like it was shot
of digital videotape, the image wasn't crisp and the colors looked a little
off. There was a good amount of digital defects, mainly aliasing.
The movie doesn't look too bad though, and has the low budget documentary
feel that the producers were going for.
This DVD has a good amount of extra material. There are seven
deleted scenes, some of which are funny, and two trailers for the movie.
A photo gallery, with production still and two music videos are also included,
along with text biographies of the characters in the movie. Not the
actors, but the characters of Dean and Terry. I thought these were
This DVD sports two commentaries. The first is by director Mike
Dowse, actor Dave Lawrence (Terry,) and actor Paul Spence (Dean.)
This is a standard commentary where they discuss the filming of the movie,
the friends that appear in the background, and some of the problems they
encountered making the movie.
The second commentary track is with Terry and Dean. The main
characters of the movie give their thoughts on the film, very similar to
the commentary track on This is Spinal Tap. When I first
started listening to this, I thought it would be pretty lame, but there
are some pretty funny moments. It was better than I expected.
Of course there are some dry spells in the course of the commentary, but
overall it was worth listening to.
Fans of the Spinal Tap style of fake documentary should be sure
to check this film out. While not as funny as its famous predecessor,
Fubar is an entertaining look at wasted slackers. There are
some truly funny moments in the film, but the main plot hampers the movie
quite a bit. This would be a fun movie to watch with a large audience,
even more entertaining if the viewers themselves were drunk.