Thursday 23 January 2014

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 98

Spoofs are a time honored tradition in the movie industry, dating as far back as the 1920s where Stan Laurel made a spoof of Rudolph Valentino’s Blood and Sand called Mud and Sand. Spoofs or parodies have a way of turning the expected or known into the unexpected or surprising, thus making it funny. Several spoofs have had as much or more success than the movies they spoofed. Airplane! is one such example. When done right, a successful parody lampoons one movie primarily, with several references to other films casually strewn about, to hilarious comedic effect. When done wrong, however, the last thing on your mind is laughter. The first thing on your mind is wanting to find the director and a few of the actors’ addresses so that you can throw shit at their front doors until cops put you away for a very long time. The movie we’re going to review tonight happens to fall into the latter of those categories. And the only reason I am not typing up this review from jail is, that I don’t have enough cash on hand to buy an airplane ticket to Hollywood.

This is the kind of shit they expect us to put up with!

Generally about the movie

As is obviously apparent to you, me and the homeless guy down the street, who have only heard rumors of that there internet, this movie is a parody of the venerable masterpiece Pulp Fiction. We just recently turned the corner to 2014, as you, me and even the aforementioned homeless dude down the street will know, and are effectively in the 20th anniversary year for the premiere of Pulp Fiction. Yes, it has been around for 20 years now. That means that the not at all venerable Plump Fiction had to have been kicking around somebody’s god forsaken brain for 3 long years after Pulp Fiction, before it was eventually jotted down on a napkin after what can only be a night of binging on drugs and alcohol, and then somehow secured financial backing for.
I don't like Sandra Bernhard. She revolts me for some reason.

What the fuck is it about even?
Since this movie is a spoof of Pulp Fiction, it’s a given that the plot of this movie, if we are going to go ahead and use such a strong word, follows that of Pulp Fiction. Thus, we open with a scene in a diner, between Bumpkin and Bunny played by Dan Castellaneta and the always, in my view, repulsive Sandra Bernhard respectively. Ever since her turn as obnoxious millionaire in Hudson Hawk, I have had a hard time allowing her nasal squeaky voice and weird face a place on the plus side of my list of actors/tresses. Bumpkin, who is played sort of like a weird Forrest Gump, has somehow acquired a movie script that he is in town to get optioned for a movie. I'll go ahead and describe the action very loosely here, because since this is a spoof, there's a lot of peripheral stuff going on on screen. Stuff that is meant to be hilarious. Since it isn't, I am not going to really deal with it, because there is no point. This scene ends with Bunny robbing the place, and we cut to Jimmy and Julius riding in a car on their way to a job.

They kind of look right. Kind of. Until...

This scene tries to mirror, in a funny way, the iconic Royal with cheese talk, but falls way way short. Instead, the subject of the gangster duo concerns itself with a visit Jimmy had, to Tomorrowland. It isn't directly specified where Tomorrowland, which is assumingly a theme park, is located. Right off the bat he says that it isn't called Tomorrowland 'over there' but MaƱanaland, which would indicate somewhere in a spanish speaking part of, I can only guess, Europe. From what I gather, Spain fits the criteria. Moments later, Jimmy speaks of Goofy, Mickey and the Little Mermaid, which indicated that Tomorrowland is in fact Euro Disney, located outside Paris. That's Paris, France. Not the lesser known Paris, Spain. He then explains that all the characters in Tomorrowland are named in french, and that Goofy is called Le Chien Les Goof. This bit puzzled me, because why the fuck doesn't he just say what Goofy is actually called, which is Dingo Goufy. I think that might've brought a genuine chuckle from my boyish lips, especially when I would later research it, and find that Goofy is in fact named Dingo Goufy in french. But no. Le Chien Les Goof. Jimmy doesn't know what Dumbo is called, because he didn't get to Fantasyland (!). For no apparent reason, Bumpkin, in a vain attempt at tying storylines together, runs in front of their car, and his movie script is scattered across the road.

Until this happens. He is also using a really annoying voice.

Jimmy is slated to take his boss' wife, Mimi Hungry, out for an evening, and this spawns a few lame puns between Julius and Jimmy, before they head into a different movie parody, namely Natural Born Killers. It doesn't really tie into the Pulp Fiction storyline, but the girl and guy (who, by the way, dons what I can only assume is a deliberately shitty bald cap) also make out the Butch / Fabienne segment. The reason for Jimmy and Julius' visit isn't immediately discernible, but I don't think it really matters. To anybody.

First of 3 or 4 times he's knocked over with his script. I lost count because I realized I just didn't care.

Mimi Hungry turns out, perhaps not surprisingly, to be kind of chubby and quite fond of food. And also to not have any of the charm and charisma that Uma Thurman brought to Mia Wallace. At least Jimmy and Julius somewhat looked like Vince and Jules. At this point there are a few subplots going, and amazingly enough, or perhaps predictably so, keeping track of why they exist and what their purposes are becomes increasingly cumbersome. There is a subplot concerning nuns doing a heist too, that's going to be a parody of Reservoir Dogs. It has a whole segment of the film dedicated in its honor, affectionately labelled Reservoir Nuns. As it happens, this subplot is also totally ridiculous. Big surprise? No. Not at all.  

These two had dialogue, but it felt completely detached from the scene they were in, or the movie as a whole.

Storylines are mixed up and strewn about the place completely at random, and even though the movie is only 78 minutes long, they still manage to drag shit out way too long. The nun business is completely pointless. The Mimi/Jimmy bit drones on with no crescendo or catharsis of any kind. The Natural Born Killers spoof is misplaced, which is quite a feat in a movie like this. The “Bumpkin has a script he wants to shop around the big leagues” subplot is borderline mentally disabled. I mean, as in only a person with a totally disregard for logical thought could think it up. Perhaps this stuff looked hilarious on paper, and the actor/director just misinterpreted it. I have my doubts.

Robert Costanzo... You were so good as Joey's dad in Friends. Where did it go wrong for you?

We end off this waste of time back in the coffee shop, where Bunny has held up the place, and Natural Born Killer couple is also making an appearance along with Julius. It resembles somewhat Pulp Fiction at this point, if you only saw Pulp Fiction once, while in another room and tripping on meth. Except for different characters, dialogue and plot, they are almost identical, so I can’t really fault you. Julius handles business, walks off and we get to see a conclusion to the Bumpkin subplot too, when he finally arrives at the movie studio with his script, and is knocked over for the Nth time, spreading all the pages of his script across the floor. He is assisted by, I think, a spoof on Nell, the movie about a girl brought up in isolation in the woods. In Nell, Jodie Foster and Liam Neeson managed to churn out a somewhat watchable piece of cinema. Even if they are parodied for only a fleeting moment in Plump Fiction, I still would've felt my artistic integrity had been severely compromised.

Mimi Hungry, ladies and gentlemen. Because we all know chubby girls are annoying and ugly, don't we? Don't we?

Is it actually that bad, or are you just a pussy?
This movie has a lot of problems working against it. Make no mistake, it’s not good. It’s not good at all. But the primary problem it had wasn't the lack of plot or interesting characters or profound takes on life, that parodies as a genre understandably sacrifice in but the rarest of cases. The main problem was, that it was just good old fashioned unfunny. Now, I may be a super awesome movie aficionado with a high opinion of myself, but where I come from spoofs are supposed to be funny. That is the sole purpose of their existence. Being shorter in duration than the two previous movies I have reviewed, I was surprised at how amazingly dull this got. I had to check duration several times, hoping in my heart of hearts that the little time indicator slider thingy was way further towards the right than it was. The movie was stupid and shallow and ridiculous and completely lacking in humor or charm. But above all it was just mind numbingly dull and boring.

This was something that happened. I promise it did!

The acting was, as expected, subpar.  The storyline did not really make use of the inherently funny bits in Pulp Fiction. It just slid forwards, like a slug on heavy meds. Pulp Fiction was slow paced, and the humor was at times subtle, and almost always relied on an interesting dialogue or interaction between interesting characters you cared about and found appealing. In Plump Fiction, you didn't give two fucks about any of the characters. They probably weren't meant to seem interesting or be characters you were supposed to invest intellectual capacity in. And that is one of the reason we will see quite a few spoofs and half assed comedies on this bleeding Bottom 100 list. Because the characters are 0 dimensional. Yes, that isn't a term that actually means anything, but I’m using it anyway, because it seems only too fitting with these flicks. The reason nothing works in this movie is probably because most of the cast and crew involved, never took a minute to figure out what comedic timing is, and why it is important.

They weren't acting here. Just thinking about their careers. 

Why is this something that exists?
It exists solely with the dimwitted hope that riding on the coattails of Pulp Fiction was more than enough incentive for everybody to want to see a spoof of it. At first, this idea might even seem reasonable. But 10 minutes into this film, even the most audacious spoof connoisseur would be cowering in shame. Moreover, the people responsible had probably looked at movies like aforementioned Airplane! and possibly Robin Hood: Men in Tights (also a time honored spoof classic), and thought: “That's not too hard. We already have Pulp Fiction that is awesome. We'll just do that, only make it a comedy”. Sadly, producing something that doesn't make people want to slash their eyeballs out with a katana, turns out to be a little harder than you'd think.

Look at that bald cap. LOOK AT IT!

They didn't even have huge talent like Huey Lewis or Lady Heather from CSI that I totally can't remember the name of to yank this bad boy out of the B level. Ok in all fairness, Lady Heather from CSI probably didn't have much to work with in .Com for Murder. Right? Don't worry, Lady Heather from CSI, you were totally badass as Lady Heather from CSI and you get a free pass. On a personal note, too bad Grissom is kind of a weirdo, because you two totally would've made a handsome... Right, I'm straying off track here. Anyway, Plump Fiction exists because of reasons, and while that answer is admittedly extremely generic, it rings eerily true. Because there really isn't any logical reason for it to be something that exists.

You certainly have a lot of hate. Could you do better?
No I might not be able to top this. While it is by no means good, I suppose I will concede, that more work went into making it, than the two previous B100 movies. It's hard to say, because this just wasn't good at all, you guys. I might've mentioned it, but it sucked. It did have potential to be good, though. At least up until the point where any of cast & crew got involved. Pulp Fiction was awesome, and an easy movie to lampoon, because everybody knows about it, it is infinitely quotable and has a non-linear story line that confuses, and thus intrigues, the audience. Why things still went completely down the shitter for Plump Fiction, I can only attribute to poor decision making skills. On the part of every single person involved.

When grabbing screenshots, I chanced upon another, unrelated, knocking over of Bumpkin.

Paul Dinello, who plays Jimmy Nova (the John Travolta/Vincent Vega character), used to do comedy with Stephen Colbert, as well as write for the Colbert Show later on. I’m a big fan of Stephen Colbert and his show. Therefore I am conflicted in regards to Paul Dinello. I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt, and imagine he was drugged, and somebody threatened to murder every single person he had ever met in his life, unless he played Jimmy Nova. That is the only way I can coalesce those two aspects of his person.

Fuck off, bro! You can’t convince me there isn’t one redeeming thing about this!
I will mention the one positive thing about this movie, because I'm a fair guy and I firmly believe that both sides of a story have equal right to be heard (they might not have equal right to be taken seriously, but at least that's something the individual can determine by themselves). There was one laugh out loud moment in this movie, that wasn't laugh out loud for the wrong reasons. And that one moment was when somebody did a Christopher Walken impression. The way they said it, and what they said was actually genuinely funny. I won't spoil that one previous moment for any of you, by describing the moment in detail. Not that the movie can actually really be spoiled, because by the time the 10th minute passes by your empty gaze, you will have ceased to give even the smallest of fucks. Regardless, if you ever do wind up watching this dreg, at least you'll have this one moment to look forward too.

Weirdly fitting, for a lot of the wrong reasons. 

I don't know if I can chalk this next bit down as a redeeming thing, with a straight face, but I was a little saddened to see Dan Castellaneta in this movie, in a role I can only describe as devastatingly abysmal. Some of you might know Mr. Castellaneta off the top of your heads, but for the rest of us he is the voice of Homer Simpson and plenty other peripheral characters on, you guessed it, The Simpsons. I suppose he does smaller projects in the hiatus periods between seasons. Why he chose to do this, only Dan and the Flying Spaghetti Monster knows for certain. If I had a better understanding of what motivates people in Hollywood to do some of the things they do, I could venture a more educated guess than just; ‘probably did it for the money’. I don’t know the exact budget of Plump Fiction, but it can’t have been more than half a million, which doesn’t really mean lots of dough for everybody involved. I guess, besides artistic integrity, an actor or a crew can be happy with just churning out whatever. They get paid, go home, feed the cat etc. Only the people who invest money, and those directly responsible for the movie as a whole, are really in the red on their ledgers.

The end credits had a 'funny' little b-roll of footage and cuts and stuff. This was in there.

Honorable mention goes out to Jennifer Coolidge. We'll see her again before these 100 movies have been reviewed, of that I have no doubt. Her main claim to fame was, as you shitkickers will no doubt not know until I say it in 2-3 words, playing Stifler's Mom in the just above mediocre turned shitty American Pie franchise. I believe she was in for the long haul (the three main movies, the fourth half way official sequel and the several American Pie themed movies, that otherwise only had the insatiable Eugene Levy as a returning character). 


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