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Canuxploitation!

Fubar

2002, Starring Paul Spence, David Lawrence, Gordon Skilling, Tracey Lawrence, Dr. S.C. Lim. Directed by Michael Dowse.





Director Michael Dowse has captured a portrait of Canadian youthfulness in FUBAR, an enjoyable and unpredictable Canadian mockumentary about rock and roll, responsibility and surprisingly enough, Canadian film.

The film begins with Terry and Dean, two aging metalheads from Calgary, who are selected by self-important director Farrel to be the subjects of a documentary. While they don't necessarily understand why they have been chosen, Farrel tries to win them over by screening his experimental black and white film about broken yo-yos. Within seconds, Terry starts shouting "Hey! Turn on the colour! No, no, I think you turned on the "suck" knob by mistake!" Still bewildered, Dean (the unemployed musician who is having trouble growing facial hair) and Terry (the dock loader with the "Fuckin' Eh!" shirt) agree to let Farrel film their lives.

Farrel, who often intrudes into the shot, wastes no time in showing Terry and Dean's irresponsibility through gratuitous scenes of shotgunning beers, vandalism, punching each other and wrestling furniture Gummo-style. When Terry and Dean meet up with their recently married friend Troy, they try to get him to come over later for a party. Troy (known as Tron in his headbanging days) promises he will, but his wife forbids him later on the grounds that he has to be responsible. Farrel contrasts Troy and his old friends by showing Terry and Dean getting drunk and insulting their friend when he doesn't show up.

When Farrel tries to interview Terry and Dean separately about their lack of direction in life, Dean lets it slip that Terry has testicular cancer. Sensing some real drama developing in his documentary, Farrel tries to convince Dean to go to the doctor, but he refuses to take responsibility for his disease. In a last ditch effort, Farrel tells Deaner's ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child. She high-tails it to Terry's house and forces him to get some medical attention.

After the biopsy, Dean learns his testicle will have to be amputated, and decides to have a final wild weekend before going under the knife. Terry and Dean take Farrel on the quintessential Canadian camping trip a car, a couple lawn chairs and a toolbox full of cheap beer. Farrel gets wasted pretty quickly, and starts screaming "You don't even know what I'm trying to do! You can't even appreciate it!" at Terry and Dean, and then tries to fight both of them at once. When Farrel wakes up in a ditch the next morning, he stumbles through an apology and then volunteers to pay for a hotel so they don't have to camp the next night. When they get to town, Terry and Dean meet up with many other (apparently) real Canadian metalheads who, when they aren't punching each other, explain their similarly irresponsible "Just give 'er" philosophies.

The next day, the final day before Dean goes under the knife, something pretty surprising happens. Just when this movie jerked you from Spinal Tap into a tale of testicle cancer, it takes another sharp turn you have to see to believe. Luckily, it all works. The rest of the film involves Dean's post-operation chemotherapy, and his hopes to be free of the cancerous tumor. With a new sense of responsibility, Terry and Dean still rock hard until Farrel's vision is complete.

Some of the more hilarious scenes involve Dean's poem "Woman is a Danger Cat," Terry's speech about bowling alley cuisine, and of course all the drunken shenanigans, which includes running away after demolishing a bus shelter with an oil drum because you know that they really just destroyed a Calgary city bus shelter!

Farrel's pretentious attitude can only be meant as an indictment of those documentary directors who manipulate life to fit their artistic vision, and particularly of Canadian feature film directors whose self-importance outweighs their films. By the end of FUBAR, when Dean and Terry have survived Farrel's intentions, you begin to see that they are bigger than the film itself that these are real people and not just clichs or clowns. In other words, you actually begin to relate to metalheads.

With all that said, FUBAR still has some problems, especially the soundtrack. First of all, the soundtrack released for the film has the hot Canadian bands of today covering the hot Canadian bands of yesteryear. I blame Hard Core Logo for this irritating trend. Thankfully you won't hear any lame Sum 41 songs during the movie, but neither do you hear very much old metal. Seeing that these guys define themselves by heavy metal, you would think there would be a whole lot of headbanging in FUBAR. There isn't, even though an extensive list of songs is listed in the end credits including tracks by Rush, AC/DC and even Thor, the metal band led by Jon Mikl Thor who appeared in a couple Canuxploitation films of his own like Rock N Roll Nightmare and Zombie Nightmare.

Secondly, mockumentaries are often only as good as the improvisational skills of the actors. Like most of the better films of this genre, FUBAR appears to be loosely scripted with actors improvising from one plot point to the next. Unfortunately Terry and Dean aren't exactly David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel. They do get some good jokes off, but they are not as consistently as funny as they could be.

This is the kind of Canadian film that appeals to a whole new audience of Canadians. And make no mistake about it, FUBAR is very Canadian. If you grew up in small town Canada, you will definitely find something to relate to in this film, whether it's the people, the camping trip, or the hard-working, hard-partying mentality.


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