Friday, February 15, 2013

FDR: American Badass!

I watched FDR: American Badass! for the same reason that anyone else would: the title sounded funny and I had fifteen minutes to kill before I had to swap out my loads of laundry.  I wasn't looking for anything particularly good to watch (and a good thing, too), but I figured that the premise would keep me entertained for a few moments.  Then I realized what the premise of this movie was.
That's right, FDR: American Badass! is the amazing true story of how Franklin Roosevelt conquered the united werewolf forces of the Axis Powers, while dropping an unholy amount of polio jokes.

It all began when Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Barry Bostwick) was just the Governor of New York.  While on a hunting trip with friends, they were attacked by a werewolf, who bit Frank on the leg and gave him "the polio."  FDR never walked again.
Above: polio face, I assume
As time went on, FDR eventually became President of the United States.  After several minutes of possibly trying to keep the US out of World War II, he decided to help the only European country that speaks English (they specify that Ireland does not count) and takes on Hitler and Mussolini (Paul Ben-Victor) by his lonesome.  By the way, Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito are all werewolves.

There's really no point discussing the acting quality in FDR: American Badass!  It's really, really fucking stupid.  As such, you can really only grade the actors on how funny or unfunny they are.  Barry Bostwick deserves all the credit for making this movie as nearly watchable as it is.  He put in a lot of effort to stretch out a very simple gag, and he wasn't afraid to act foolishly in the process.
Example: Bostwick, covered in buttermilk, humping a pitcher
Bruce McGill wasn't bad as a straight man, but this is not exactly a movie that requires a setup for its gags.  There are actually a surprising number of recognizable faces in this cast.  Lin Shaye, Ray Wise, William Mapother, and Paul Willson all play small parts, and all of them have their chance to say or do something crude. Keri Lynn Pratt, who I honestly don't dislike, once again played a ditzy whore quite well.  Deon Richmond also played the part he is most well-known for: the black guy in a stupid comedy.  The only person who really stood out was Kevin Sorbo as the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, brought on by exceedingly strong marijuana.  I've never seen Sorbo flex his comedic muscles before, but he was surprisingly fun to watch as an herb-loving, super-chill Presidential ghost.
Of course he can fly

How can I try to objectively criticize the writing and directing of FDR: American Badass!?  The title alone lets most people know whether they will love or hate this movie.  For those of you on the fence, though, I believe that there are at least sixteen solid minutes of comedy in this film.  Unfortunately, the movie is 93 minutes long.  Still, director keeps a pretty solid pace and encourages the actors to ham it up to an appropriate degree.  's script makes no attempt to be anything other than crude and stupid, and he does it frequently enough that there are guaranteed to be a few truly funny moments.  
Wheelchair of Death
In other words, if you've ever wanted to hear Franklin Roosevelt use the phrase "a bag full of dicks at a lesbian convention," then this is your film.  Of course, the odds of you actively wanting to hear that particular phrase are pretty slim, so this is probably a niche audience.  Not as niche as the people who want to see FDR receive sexual gratification from someone licking ketchup and mustard off his polio-stricken legs, but it's still a small audience.
Fact: this scene was recreated from an official White House photo

I guess the only question that matters is whether or not FDR: American Badass! is a good film or not.  It's not.  Just kidding!  Not about the quality of the movie --- it's obviously trash --- but about the important question: the question should be whether or not this movie is funny.  The answer, surprisingly, is "sometimes."  I hate most comedies, and I loathe the current crop of pop-culture spoofs that make up most of the successful comedies nowadays.  I expected to laugh at how bad FDR: American Badass! was, but I found myself actually laughing with the movie at times.  It's tedious to watch all of this movie (I would recommend ten-minutes at a time), but in small doses, it can actually be kind of fun.
Like FDR at an orgy
Sure, it makes the same jokes over and over.  Yes, it relies on crude humor far too often (and the novelty of old people using hip-hop slang at all).  But there are some genuinely funny ideas buried under all the crap they used to pad this movie.  This would have made a hysterical fake movie trailer, and a funny fifteen-minute short.  But it's a feature-length film, and the jokes wear thin.  FDR: American Badass! is not good, but it is better than it should be. 

At the time of this post, FDR: American Badass! didn't have much information available on the internet.  How little, you ask?  There's not even a Wikipedia page for it!  I didn't know that was even possible.

1 comment:

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