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Thursday, October 27, 2005

SPILL THE WEINSTEIN

Posted on Thu, Oct 27, 2005 at 4:00 AM

**1/2
My Big Fat Independent Movie
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: R
Website: www.mybigfatindependentmovie.com/
Release Date: 2005-10-27
Cast: Paget Brewster, Eric Hoffman, Darren Reiher, Neil Barton, Darren Keefe
Director: Philip Zlotorynski
Screenwriter: Adam Schwartz, Chris Gore
WorkNameSort: My Big Fat Independent Movie
Our Rating: 2.50

I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by My Big Fat Independent Movie, if only because a handful of seemingly credible reports had indicated the film was the Antichrist. On the whole, writer Chris Gore's madcap spoof of indie clichés is about as well-written as his Film Threat website – which is to say, not very well at all. But there's a fed-up irreverence to the whole affair that makes it, if not sweet revenge for hours wasted at the art house, at least NutraSweet revenge.

Bringing together a host of very familiar character types, the movie revolves around two glib mobsters (Neil Barton, Eric Hoffman) who get sent to Vegas to carry out a botched robbery. Focus on that concept for a second: They're planning a botched robbery. That's the vein of auteur-weary satire that Gore, co-writer Adam Schwartz and director Philip Zlotorynski tap as our self-described antiheroes fall in with: a brokenhearted swinger (Darren Reiher); a vigilante with no short-term memory (Brian Krow); and an annoying French girl (Ashley Head) who's stalking the love of her life.

Unfortunately, the filmmakers see fit to underline almost every gag for the benefit of viewers who know the lampooned material only from a yellowing movie poster on a college roommate's wall. No actor ever breaks character and announces, "See, this bit is from Mulholland Drive" – but a few come dangerously close. It's a strange beast this Film Threat crew has assembled: an indie spoof that doesn't count on its audience to have seen a whole lot of independent films.

Also, the acting is largely terrible. Yet every time the movie seems about to drown in its own blatancy and semicompetence, Gore and company come up with a winning gambit – like casting Kevin Smith MVP Jason "Jay" Mewes as the voice of the Swingers answering machine. I particularly enjoyed a running gag in which an Aniston-like refugee (Paget Brewster) from a broken marriage explains that it doesn't matter if her husband was gay or just aloof, or if she herself is a latent lesbian. What counts is that she was unfulfilled, dammit, so now she's entitled to sleep with as many teenage boys as she pleases.

Of course, she is also wearing a blue smock and a nametag that identifies her as "The Good Girl." Sigh.

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