Wasabi Tuna
Indican Pictures // R
Review by Daniel W. Kelly | posted May 2, 2005
M O V I E
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
The Movie:
If you're hungry for a campy yet mainstream frolic filled with gay boys, drag queens, gangsters, and Anna Nicole Smith, give Wasabi Tuna a taste.

Five friends, gay and straight (Barney Cheng, Jason London, Alanna Ubach, Antonio Sabato Jr., and Tim Meadows) take Halloween very seriously. Every year, they go to the parade in West Hollywood dressed as some sort of food. This year, they've decided to do something different. Their decision to go as gangsters leads to a huge case of mistaken identity…including the identity of a kidnapped dog. Before they know it, they are being chased by a gang of thugs, the feds, and an obsessed bunch of Anna Nicole Smith drag queens (led by Alexis Arquette).

Despite its simple plot, this movie uses cliché to its advantage and ends up being very funny—sort of like Go on E. It never takes itself seriously, and never tries to be shockingly different. It's just plain fun. You get to see Antonio's bare butt, always a plus. The drag queens are perfectly over-the-top (and Alexis shines even further on the DVD menu, which you can read about below). Anna Nicole in her small role is—Anna Nicole. She nails the part. There are only a few shortcomings. Barney Cheng is grossly stereotypical as a flamboyant gay man, and although the performance is funny at times, it may turn off some viewers. But there are excellent little exchanges between he and his boyfriend (Jason London), sometimes just a look, which will cause any gay man to chuckle with appreciation. And finally, as the movie plows forward, it seems to forget the one most important element of the plot…it takes place on Halloween in West Hollywood. That aspect of the story is not exploited, and I'd say a whole different movie could still be made based on the idea.

The DVD

Video:
Aspect ratio: 1:85:1, letterbox. The black levels are deep and rich, the colors are vibrant, and the edges are sharp. The only downside is a surprising amount of print damage now and then, including what looks like very large reel change markers.

Sound:
Dolby 5.1. The output level is terribly low, and your receiver needs to be cranked up. Left/right separation is clear and distinct, but the rear response leaves something to be desired. It is subtle and unimpressive. Bass response is also minor.

Extras:
Let's just start by saying that this menu is one of the best you'll ever have the pleasure of navigating. Alexis Arquette, in full drag (and he looks outstanding) walks on screen—in each page of menu you select—and makes comments about the various options, and then gets annoyed if you take too long to select. He's hysterical, and you will definitely want to go to every menu to see what he has in store for you. The big flaw in the menu is that on certain pages, while the special options are clearly highlighted, the "next", "previous" and "main menu" options are not, and you end up jumping around blindly trying to move on to a different menu. Extras include:

SCENE SELECTION—18 chapters breaks.

SHORT TRAILER/LONG TRAILER—trailers for the film.

MUSIC VIDEO—this is a song entitled "Coochie Power," performed by Alexis Arquette and the other drag queens. A campy video with clips from the movie interspersed, but for some reason, the footage of the drag queens singing was shot on video, and it looks very amateur. It would have been much better had it been shot on film.

B-ROLL FUN—this is just 3 minutes of uninspired behind-the-scenes footage.

CAST INTERVIEWS—these are predominantly uninteresting, short interviews with 9 cast members. And the real kick is that they are all used in the Behind-the-Scenes segment below, and become slightly more interesting in context.

BEHIND THE SCENES—as previously mentioned, same cast interviews as above, plus some more not-so-interesting behind-the-scenes footage. Running time, 9 minutes.

Final Thoughts:
Wasabi Tuna is campy fun made accessible to all—gay, straight, and everything in between. It's your typical, slapstick mistaken identity comedy, with a flamboyant twist.



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