The Foot Fist Way

Rated: R
Runtime: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Directed by: Jody Hill

Starring:
Danny McBridge - Fred Simmons
Ben Best - Chuck "The Truck" Wallace
Mary Jane Bostic - Suzie Simmons
Spencer Moreno - Julio
Carlos Lopez IV - Henry
Jody Hill - Mike McAlister


The Foot Fist Way - Poster

Last summer, I had the privilege of talking to the stars of Superbad (minus Seth Rogen, a grudge I will forever hold for no reason in particular) and when I asked them about recent comedy they enjoyed, they said they had repeatedly watched a film called The Foot Fist Way written and starring Danny McBride, Jody Hill, and Ben Best. Soon after, I found my way to a copy of the film (I'm sworn to secrecy on how but I will say it involved ninjas), and knew that it was something special but also a tough sell. By the end of watching it, I was reminded of Super Troopers, a film that I didn't love to death the first time I saw it but the major jokes hit me. But every time I watched it again, I like it more and more because it was the throwaway jokes that stuck in my consciousness. However, when I tried these repeat viewings, I watched with friends who were seeing it for the first time. The film couldn't hold their interest. It's not an easy comedy because it's walking this very odd line between the uncomfortable reality-based humor of Ricky Gervais and the loud, boorish comedy of Will Ferrell.

The film is more of a character portrait of Tae Kwan Do instructor Fred Simmons (McBride), a guy with his head so far up his own ass but doesn't mind because he loves the smell of his own shit. He commands the respect of people who don't know any better and I think the first roadblock for some viewers may be this character. He's the lead and there's no other supporting characters to really identify with so you're put in the awkward position of spending 90 minutes of someone who you don't really like even though he's inadvertently funny.

The next problem is there isn't much of a plot. It's more of little vignettes of Simmons training his students, martial problems with his bitch of a wife, and then the bare thread of a story where he eventually must defeat his former idol (Ben Best).

So why is it so funny? Why have people you find funny like Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Bill Heder, and many more found it to be such a highly rewatchable film? It can't be explained because it has to be experienced. To go back to my example of Super Troopers, I can't tell you why a line like "The lice hate the sugar" is so fucking funny because it doesn't really connect until your fourth or fifth viewing of the film. That seems absurd to have to sit through an 85 minute film so many times just for it to be hilarious, but it's funny on the first time. It's just not a comedy classic until the fifth time.

I hope that you'll see this film and that you'll like it enough to rewatch it and find that you like it even more. Maybe then, the next time you're having pizza with friends, you'll turn to a friend who has also seen the film multiple times, and say, "How much pizza have you had? I think you've had enough." And you'll both laugh your asses off.

Words by
Matt Goldberg
5.29.08


Rating:8.3 out of 10