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I Am a Knife with Legs
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by Jay Seaver

"As indie as it gets - and damn funny as well."
4 stars

SCREENED AT BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 17: This review has been a long time coming, as BUFF is the third festival I've attended to play "I Am a Knife with Legs". I've watched the film at all three, but it's the sort of weird movie that tends to play midnights, and I fear I'm reaching the age where deadpan humor and late hours do not mix, so it took this festival playing it at 7:45pm for me to feel like I've actually seen the thing. Clearly, it's me and not the film - Bennett Jones's movie is very funny, making me glad I didn't give up.

Jones plays Bené, an international pop star who recently just missed being killed by a suicide bomber, although his backup singer and girlfriend Baguette was not so lucky. Now there's apparently a fatwa out on him, so he has holed up in a run-down L.A. apartment with his manager/bodyguard Beefy (Will Crest), hoping they can wait this thing out.

Bennett Jones is a veritable a veritable Swiss Army Knife with legs for all the jobs he did on this movie - he writes, produces, directs, stars, edits, and is responsible for both the score and songs. That's after honing the character of Bené as a stand-up comedian, and that's perhaps the most important thing he does. It's one thing, after all, to have this sort of dim-bulb character as a supporting part, but quite another to have him at the center of every scene and narrating besides. That he manages to give this guy an actual personality and makes darn near every line funny is impressive.

What he does wearing the other hats isn't bad, either. Jones-the actor may be spitting out deadpan absurdity at an impressive clip (with Will Crest kind of invaluable as a low-key straight man), but it works in large part because Jones-the-everything-else has come up with a string of nutty ideas and lines that may not be predictable but don't feel random, and paced so that it that still never feels rushed. The songs are funny and catchy, the fourth wall is gently pushed aside on occasion, and the bizarre plot is always going off in some weird new direction.

Part of the license to be so strange is that this is very much a do-it-yourself production, and that admittedly might not be for everyone. It's very much a low-resolution aesthetic, there are some jokes that don't really seem to go anywhere, and the occasional moment that perhaps feels a little more homemade than necessary, like when home movies are being repurposed as the introduction of outlandish plot elements or when Jones is dropping a good chunk of the story onto the shoulders of a kid who probably hasn't spent as much time honing her character as he has (or even being alive, come to think of it).

On balance, that this is all Jones's particular brand of silliness without much interference more than makes up for how this sort of rough-edged, low-budget thing wasn't the easiest thing for me to get through fatigued, but I laughed a lot when alert, finally able to get why so many other people I talked to really loved it.

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originally posted: 04/11/15 14:33:07
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Fantastic Fest For more in the 2014 Fantastic Fest series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2015 Boston Underground Film Festival For more in the 2015 Boston Underground Film Festival series, click here.

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Directed by
  Bennett Jones

Written by
  Bennett Jones

  Bennett Jones
  Will Crest
  Tommy Malatesta
  Ashley Koiso

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