❉ This week: The insanely outrageous, always hysterical, and just a bit nasty super low-budget comedy The Foot Fist Way.
The aggressive, purposefully awkward comedy stylings of cinematic provocateur Jody Hill simply can’t be denied. Before he’d become a mainstream force with HBO’s Eastbound and Down and predating his extraordinarily transgressive studio comedy Observe & Report, in 2006 he released the phenomenally funny, super low-budget laugher The Foot Fist Way, which, if you aren’t familiar, could easily become the comedic discovery of the year for you as a viewer.
The action centers on the insanely clueless Fred Simmons, played by Danny McBride in what amounts to his crowning achievement as an actor, a blissfully moronic, fourth-degree black belt in Taekwondo who runs his own small-town dojo in North Carolina. In classic McBride/Hill fashion, Simmons thinks of himself as a tough-guy hot-shot, full of big speeches filled with empty bravado, a false sense of pride, and prone to tooling around in his Ferrari while always looking for new potential students. His life becomes shattered after he learns that his wife Suzie (the fantastic Mary Jane Bostic) has manually relieved her boss after a night of heavy drinking at an office party. With his confidence and ego destroyed, Simmons sets out on a path of masculine redemption filled with outlandish stupidity, but this being a Jody Hill movie, stuff gets insanely outrageous, always hysterical, and just a bit nasty.
To try and get himself back on track, he attends a martial arts expo in an effort to seek out his long time idol, B-movie action star Chuck “the Truck” Wallace (Ben Best, Hill and McBride’s frequent creative collaborator, who also co-wrote the script), who actually turns out to be a hilariously pathetic loser with an axe to grind. The Foot Fist Way piles on conflict after conflict, incident after incident, some of it sexually scandalous, some of it harmless, some of it violent, all of absolutely priceless. McBride’s signature, loud-mouth, white-trashy antics have rarely been captured better than they were in The Foot Fist Way; he’s one of the ultimate cinematic buffoons and I love how he was going to be a director before filmmaker David Gordon Green insisted that he take a small part in All the Real Girls.
The final act of The Foot Fist Way is a total pisser (literally and figuratively…) and I’m constantly amazed by Hill’s fearless sense of what he thinks might be acceptable to his audience to laugh at. He’s primed to explode on a massive level at some point – he’s due his Hangover-type success – and I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more from him in the coming years. If The Foot Fist Way was one of those little movies that flew way under the radar, take it from me, it’s worth tracking down, as it’s one of the most enjoyably asinine films in a long time.
❉ Nick Clement is a freelance writer, having contributed to Variety Magazine, Hollywood- Elsewhere, Awards Daily, Back to the Movies, and Taste of Cinema. He’s currently writing a book about the works of filmmaker Tony Scott, and co-operates the website Podcasting Them Softly.
❉ He is also a regular contributor for MovieViral.com, a site dedicated to providing the best news and analysis on viral marketing and ARG campaigns for films and other forms of entertainment.