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The Foot Fist Way is being advertised as one of Will Ferrell’s favorite comedies. If that’s true, it may explain what’s gone so horribly wrong with his career over the past few years. Clearly, the guy no longer has any idea what really funny actually is.
It’s not that The Foot Fist Way isn’t funny in parts, it’s just that it’s only funny in parts. The parts that are funny are indeed really funny, and they involve Danny McBride (who you may recognize from bit parts in movies like Hot Rod and Drillbit Taylor) as a Taekwondo instructor named Fred Simmons, simply yelling at people. Simmons, in addition to being a Taekwondo master (of sorts) is also a master of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. He of course, is absolutely unaware of this talent, and it’s his vicious, off the cuff asides which will likely earn some uncomfortable chuckling. Unfortunately, in between those moments of pure meanness there’s the movie and there’s the script, neither of which are very good.
The script isn’t any good because it has nowhere to go when Simmons isn’t mouthing off, and perhaps even worse, it doesn’t invent enough excuses for Simmons to regale us with his foul mouthed, over-the-top wisdom. The movie fails because everyone except McBride is an absolutely terrible actor. The movie’s female lead, Simmons’ wife (Mary Jane Bostic), is by far the worst offender. Her performance is perfect, for a porn movie, and every time she shows up on screen to stumble through a line, you’ll find yourself waiting for that trademark adult movie bow chicka bow sound. Sometimes that works for them, since she’s playing a total whore, but most of the time it’s flatly annoying.
In total there are maybe ten minutes of serious funny in The Foot Fist Way, and the other 75 minutes or so you’ll spend staring blankly, waiting through the clumsy, low-budget camera work for the next bit of hilarity. Maybe that’s enough to make it worth renting, say on a Friday night when you plan to stay home with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a remote control. If you’re a fan of awkward hilarity, then you’ll probably enjoy The Foot Fist Way, but there’s not enough comedy in it to make this the kind of instant cult classic it’s being billed as. This movie’s weakness is disgusting to me, but only because there’s so much potential in what McBride’s doing here, for it to be so much better.