Surely you’ve experienced a time in your life where you’ve shared a joke with your friend, one that was infinitely funny and took on a life of its own. Inevitably those jokes tire and wear thin, but sometimes, some magical times, you push through and suddenly the joke returns to hilarity and becomes something else. The FP is that experience in cinematic form. Akin to a feature-length Lonely Island skit, or a YouTube parody writ large, it is an unwinking, serious-faced parody, and it’s an experience you’ve never quite had before.
Patterning itself off of movies like The Warriors and Mad Max that exist in vaguely post-apocalyptic, dystopian setting where psychopathic gangs rule the land, The FP seems like it exists in our universe, just in a place that’s spiraled off into it’s own white-trash nightmare. In this isolated little place called Frazier Park, disputes are solved and credibility is sealed by the results of life-or-death Dance Dance Revolution battles(called “Beat Beat Revelations” in this world). The story is that of JTRO, whose brilliant brother falls victim to his own hubris and is out-danced in the opening sequence by rival gang-leader L Dubba E, dying in the process. This sequence shoves you right into the world of The FP, which is filled with ghetto-pop slang and unending masculine posturing. Jason Trost, the genuinely eye-patched and sharply featured co-writer and director of the film, plays JTRO who splits town after his brothers death. Drawn back into the world he left behind, he returns to save his crew from complete destruction- by which I mean not having access to alcohol. Jason is great, playing every Bruckheimer protagonist ever, while Art Hsu stands out as the hilarious sidekick KCDC. Hsu is one of those rare actors that push genuine heart onto the screen and it still remain visible through all of the irony. The principle cast is rounded out by the truly brave Caitlyn Folley, who goes a lot of places in her trashy love interest role that few actresses would tread. Most everyone in the film deserves a shout out, but with a cast filled to the brim with characters like Sugga Nigga, Beat Box Busta Bill, and CC Jam (played by Clifton Collins Jr!), it’s impossible to spotlight them all.
Again, there’s no winking here, which is what makes a thoroughly one-note joke sustainable for the course of an entire film. If The FP were for one moment to pull back the curtain or go meta, it would fall to pieces and become an overlong internet video. It helps though, that it is also a one-note joke delivered extremely well, with beautiful photography, keenly delivered melodrama, and a pitch-perfect understanding of every trope in the Bruckheimer playbook. The success of the film owes largely to how well-designed it is at every level. The costumes are top notch, the production design stellar, and the photography is more dynamic than its budget would typically allow, which lays on the feet of co-writer and director, and director of photography Brandon Trost (Halloween II, Crank 2, MacGruber).
There are many that won’t see the point or won’t dig the inherent humor of The FP, but for those that eat up the absurdity and want to see how far it will go, there’s a mafuckin’ ballin’ time to be had here (to use the parlance of our subject). My own personal experience was that of boisterous, bone-level laughter that didn’t stop for the first twenty minutes, until the film literally broke me. It’s a sensation I’ve experience only once before with the french animated film A Town Called Panic, where the absurdity blew me away until I literally couldn’t physically respond anymore. During most of the second act I sat silently, despite the fact that my brain was responding to the humor as enthusiastically as ever- I was just unable to send signals to the rest of me. Eventually, like in the case of that good joke that gets a second wind, I fell out of my comedy coma and started laughing again. By then I cared about characters (on a complete surface level of course, the same as it is with the cheapest of Bay films) and was excited to see the inevitable conclusion, and the wonderful twists thrown into each. Not every film switches out its big dramatic final kiss for an altogether different expression of love between the romantic leads.
The film will work best playing for large groups of enthusiastic young people, but there’s a dedication to irony here that I think a wider range of film goers can appreciate, even if they never need another film to do it again. Ever. Like, fucking ever. But full of balls, beats, and bitches, The FP is a film that happens to you in the best way possible, and one you aren’t going to forget.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars
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