Xenon // R // $24.98 // January 20, 2004
Review by John Sinnott | posted May 19, 2004
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The Movie:

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 out.

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 street..

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 DVD:


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.

The Extras:

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 funny.

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.

Final Thoughts:

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.   Recommended.

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