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FP, The
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by Jay Seaver

"Most movies that want a cult following this badly aren't nearly as good."
3 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2011 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "The FP" is the sort of flick that is precisely built to appeal to a certain category of movie fans, who are often surprised when it doesn't do much for others. I have no doubt that it will find its cult quickly, and it should: It's crafted, not manufactured, and offers genuine goofy enthusiasm rather than precision pandering.

Things are going down in Frazier Park (the FP, yo!) - a year ago, local Beat Beat Revelation champion BTRO (Brandon Barrera) collapsed and died in a battle with rival L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy), and now L Dub's gang controls all the liquor in the county. The only hope for The FP is BTRO's brother JTRO (Jason Trost), if the brothers' buddy KCDC (Art Hsu) can get him to return and train under BBR master BLT (Nick Principe). But can he do that, especially since Stacy (Caitlyn "Caker" Folley), the cute girl he met that fateful night, seems to have taken up with L Dub?

Well, of course he can, otherwise it's a very short and unsatisfying movie for all involved. The Trost brothers (star Jason and cinematographer Brandon co-write and direct) know what sort of template this movie will eventually follow, and they don't deviate very far from the pattern. They just amp it up, figuring out to three decimal places how far you can push the ratios between characters' devotion to a sport, the stakes involved, and the game's inherent silliness before it stops being fun-stupid and starts being stupid-stupid. They stay pretty solidly on the fun-stupid side, attaching some frequently-hilarious bombast to patently ridiculous competition.

It's not going to be for everyone, of course; though there's a lot of jokes, they don't have a particularly broad range . If you don't go for "white rednecks acting like they're all gangsta" gags, this may not be the movie for you, to put it lightly (and if use of the n-word is a deal-breaker, even when it ends with an "a", well, move along). There filmmakers also work the "it kind of looks like the 1980s" angle pretty hard, too, and the movie generally does all right in those areas. It's kind of lazy comedy - peppering sentences with somewhat incongruous swearwords isn't exactly the same as giving the characters funny things to say - but it often works better than it has any right to.

Why? Mainly because the cast is invested. Jason Trost is not stone-faced, but also isn't about to wink at the camera no matter how weird things get. It's a nice job of playing silly material just a bit off straight, and half of what works does so because of how Trost plays it. Art Hsu is responsible for a good chunk of the rest; only a fraction of his motormouth performance is really that funny, but when he's on - like with a bit that draws a line from L Dubba E's booze monopoly to ducks in record time, he kills. Principe, Folley, and Valmassy all fill their stock roles just a little better than they need to.

The cast and crew appear to be a fairly tight-knit bunch, even the ones that aren't family (sister Sarah Trost handles costumes and father Ron oversees the special effects), and that helps a lot. The FP is a pointedly low-budget movie, and while there's an element of parody to it, Brandon shoots it well and the brothers (along with editor Abe Levy) keep it moving quickly; the movie is about eighty minutes long and doesn't dawdle for very many of them.

Some folks are going to love "The FP", and it's earnest and energetic enough that even those who aren't part of the audience it's tailor-made for will smile relatively often. That doesn't make it a classic, but puts it a cut above most other movies actively searching for a cult following.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=22191&reviewer=371
originally posted: 08/14/11 14:33:25
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2011 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2011 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2011 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the Fantasia International Film Festival 2011 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 34th Starz Denver Film Festival For more in the 34th Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.

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USA
  16-Mar-2012
  DVD: 19-Jun-2012

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Mar-2012
  DVD: 19-Jun-2012


Directed by
  Jason Trost
  Brandon Trost

Written by
  Jason Trost
  Brandon Trost

Cast
  Jason Trost
  Lee Valamassy
  Caitlyn Folley
  Art Hsu
  Nick Principe



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