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The FP

Jason Trost as JTRO in Brandon and Jason Trost’s The FP. [Photo: Drafthouse Films]

The FP 1.5 out of 4

star1-5

The FP has a one-note joke of a conceit, and when that runs out, it has few actual jokes to fill the humorless void. Brandon and Jason Trost's wannabe cult hit takes place in a bizarre alternate universe of '80s affectations and '90s video games where, in the slummy neighborhood of Frazier Park (a.k.a. "The FP"), rival gangs wage war via bouts of dance game Beat-Beat Revolution. This landscape is populated by inanely named weirdos in outrageous garb—Japanese head scarves, studded jackets, lots of garish neon and jewelry—who speak in wildly profane hip-hop slang, and at the epicenter of this faux-outrageous world is eye-patched JTRO (Jason Trost). After his comrade is felled in combat (his death is referred to by police code "187") in the first of innumerable Rocky-isms, JTRO leaves town to be a lumberjack, leading to synthesizer and drum machine-scored walks along Red Dawn-ish mountain-ranged roads until comrade KCDC (Art Hsu) convinces him to return to the FP to defeat evil mohawked L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy). His mission: to restore booze to the area, which will destroy the scourge of drugs that have taken alcoholism's place, a bit of lunacy that provides the film with its most amusing moment, in which KCDC explains that liquor must return so that the area can once again have bums, who in turn can feed ducks, because "What's a town with no motherfucking ducks?!"

A prodigal-son-makes-good narrative is thus set in motion, and one that's treated with wink-free earnestness by its cast, but so many self-conscious '80s visual tropes (including JTRO turning to the sky and screaming "Noooo!") that The FP only operates on a we're-in-on-this-stupidity level. That attitude might be more tolerable if the film were able to generate real comedic verve, but despite its uniquely vulgar absurdity, there's so little actual humor to its athletic-competition plotting and wacko dialogue—as when JTRO groaningly challenges L Dubba E to a "beat off"—that the proceedings wind up inert. A zombie dream sequence, an abusive cross-dressing dad for JTRO's skanky but sweet love interest, Stacy (Caitlyn Folley), and Clifton Collins Jr. showing up to sell "Black Dick"-flavored ecstasy while wearing a rainbow-colored afro wig all strive to create a sense of anarchic craziness that's never realized. And the fact that JTRO and company incessantly repeat dim-bulb mantras like "We roll together, we die together" and "Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished" (a.k.a. N.I.G.G.A.) doesn't make said lines any funnier. Only in its final shot does The FP achieve the sleazy-stupid silliness for which it strives, in a happily-ever-after embrace at a river's edge that finds Stacy dropping to her knees to pleasure JTRO as the camera pans blissfully upwards toward a V-shaped flock of birds.

Director(s): Brandon Trost, Jason Trost Screenwriter(s): Brandon Trost, Jason Trost Cast: Jason Trost, Lee Valmassy, Art Hsu, Caitlyn Folley, Nick Principe, Brandon Barrera, James DeBello, Bryan Goddard Distributor: Drafthouse Films Runtime: 83 min Rating: R Year: 2011

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