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CAPSULE: THE FP (2011)

DIRECTED BY: Brandon Trost, Jason Trost

FEATURING: Jason Trost, Caker Folley, Lee Valmassy, Art Hsu

PLOT: In the future rival gangs fight for control of a lawless suburban town, gaining power and street cred by winning dance video game duels.

Still from The FP (2011)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: It dances to the beat of its own beat machine, for sure, and will strike a chord with some, but it’s not weird enough to overcome its own lightweight aspirations.

COMMENTS: Although I can’t unconditionally recommend The FP, I do admire its willingness to play its goofy premise with a (mostly) straight face. There are only a couple of outright jokes in the movie’s entire run-time (including a pretty funny one about the ecology of alcoholics and waterfowl). Most of the time, we’re allowed to generate our own humor from the absurd spectacle of wannabe gangstas settling deadly scores on video game dance floors. Eye-patched hero J-Tro quits the 248 gang after brother B-Tro drops dead, presumably of shame, after losing a hoofing contest to mohawked L Dubba E, leader of the 245 clan. Coaxed out of retirement by monumentally irritating sidekick KCDC, J-Tro returns to the FP to find L Dubba E monopolizing not only the suburbs’ liquor supply, but also his would-be New Wave squeeze Stacy. This leads, inevitably, to a series of training montages before J-Tro faces L Dubba one-on-one for some beatbox vengeance. Meanwhile, a cast of spastic punk extras say the f-word while dressed in mix-and-match outfits from Road Warrior and Karate Kid (the ladies dress like Cyndi Lauper in the depths of a depraved cocaine binge). From the Commodore 64-style opening graphic scroll to the synthpop theme, the movie is oh-so-Eighties it hurts. It’s a parody of all those shy-and-stoic underdog defeats the arrogant villain and gets the girl flicks, and also a satire on today’s white suburban youth acting all ghetto (not the most challenging of satirical targets, for sure, but sometimes you aim at what you can hit). The slang is thick to the point of near impenetrability (“J-TRO jumped his ass and was like bow to the bridge, yo kick it! Believ’ dat!”), but it’s too near real contemporary teen talk (characters actually say “whatevs” and “for realz”) to have any poetic charm. Odd moments include an attack with an electric tennis racket and a drug trip where a freaked out J-Tro believes he’s being attacked by hipsters in rainbow wigs, but the weirdest thing about the movie is that none of the characters realizes that none of the other characters in the movie actually has a “black ass.” The 248 crew refer to each other as “Niggas” (“nig” for short), which they explain stands for “Never Ignorant in Gettin’ Goals Accomplished.” To me, a more accurate acronym for their behavior would be “Willfully Insipid Goofiness Galls Adults.” I desperately wanted to enjoy this offbeat movie, but I couldn’t, because every character was constantly screaming at me in a stream of profanity-laced, alphabet soup jargon, and I wanted them all to die in grisly ways. With its head-rattling techno soundtrack and post-apocalyptic rave visuals, The FP seems hellbent on giving anyone over the age of 30 a screaming headache; if that sounds like an endorsement to you, then by all means give it a watch.

The FP was released by Drafthouse Films, the new distribution branch of the famous Alamo Drafthouse saloon/cinema.

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“…just a flat out bizarre experience that never quite clicks.”–Jeremy Lebens, “We Got This Covered” (Blu-ray)

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