Ryan Pinkston. Yeah, I've never heard of him either, but that didn't stop New Line Cinema from giving this young actor his own comedy.
Sam Leonard (Pinkston) is the new kid at his high school. Cursed with loving parents, good grades, and a lack of height, Sam is immediately bullied by his classmates, with the exception of Annie (Kate Mara, "We Are Marshall"), who takes a shine to the nerd. Convinced he needs to lie about his life to be accepted by his peers, Sam goes on a tear trying to build himself up as a winner. To both his horror and delight, Sam's lies start coming true due to obscure magical reasons, leaving the teenager with a decision: live the life he's always wanted or be truthful to himself.
Pinkston's biggest credit to date is a reoccurring role on Ashton Kutcher's tail-chasing "Punk'd." Forgive me if I hesitate to acknowledge anyone coming from that show as worthy of their own starring vehicle, since it's the same program that introduced Dax Shepard to the world. Pinkston is not as aggressive a social miscalculation as Shepard is, but the two share one common trait: they're both comedians with no passion for comedy.
"Full of It" (retitled "Big Liar on Campus" during its recent ABC Family Channel run) is a strange motion picture, not in the way it depicts high school in formulaic ways or the feeble jokes themselves, but in the fashion director Christian Charles crafts this film. I haven't seen a comedy overtly photographed like "Full of It" in a long time, and there's a good reason for it: it completely saps the liveliness from the gags.
Working with cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau, Charles orders every scene to resemble something out of Tony Scott's "Revenge" period of the early 90s. The lighting in "Full of It' is unbearable and self-conscious to a point of absurdity. This is a low-budget teen comedy, but Charles is convinced it's up to him to save the picture with his laboriously detailed shots, not casting or screenwriting (the story is credited to four writers, and that's no lie). The wildly inappropriate cinematography detracts from the overall silly mood of the film, placing emphasis on the technical side of filmmaking when every inch of this misfire should be focusing on whatever humanity it can reel in from this empty fishing pond of quality.
"Full of It" is a fun-sized version of "Liar, Liar" without the antic spirit or a comedy juggernaut in the lead role. Pinkston, looking like an emo Danny Partridge, possesses what I could decipher as one single facial expression (confusion, with a dash of insincere smirk), and the script's ideas for Sam's dreams-come-true are limited to parched inventions such as enormous genital size and the flirtations of the "hot" teacher (a miscast Teri Polo). Laughing yet?
As crazy as the look of the film becomes, the DVD, with an anamorphic widescreen presentation (1.85:1 aspect ratio), does tremendous justice to the wild lighting and color scheme of the picture. It's a vivid DVD, keeping the colors stable and preserving the very film-like textures of the theatrical release.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mix is an active creation, keeping dialogue crisp and upfront, while leaving plenty of room for the powerhouse soundtrack cuts.
"Introducing Ryan Pinkston" (8 minutes) is actually quite successful at bringing the viewer up to speed on Pinkston and his comedic/martial arts achievements. This featurette gushes nonstop about the actor, trying to build the newcomer up as someone worth carrying his own movie.
"Man on the Street" (8 minutes) is a Disney Channel-style promotional puff piece hosted by Pinkston as he questions "random" pedestrians about their brushes with fibbing.
"Perils of Lying" (4 minutes) puts the cast and crew of "Full of It" on trial, asking them to recall their finest moments of deception and how they learned valuable lessons from their rogue ways.
"Bad Advice" (2 minutes) heads back to the cast and crew of the film and asks them to reveal their worst instances of bad advice. Strangely, no one has the guts to blurt out, "Saying yes to making 'Full of It'."
"Video Yearbook" (9 minutes) hits up the cast and crew yet again, requesting their high school memories. For many it was pranks and skipping class, for the rest heavy theater involvement. It is strange to hear the teen characters of the film (all in their twenties now), recalling their youthful spirit.
Six deleted scenes (7 minutes) are presented, and if you found "Full of It" to be lacking in the laugh department, I would steer clear of these humorless edits. The strangest inclusion here has to be a brief "Exorcist" parody.
Finally, a theatrical trailer is included.
"Full of It" is more a lame oddity than a hilarious punch in the face, but a bad movie is still a bad movie. I didn't know who Ryan Pinkston was before I watched "Full of It," and now I pray to the cinema gods I will never have to wince through another one of his insufferable movies again.
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