DVD Review: FUBAR: Balls to the Wall
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Distributor: Screen Media
· Michael Dowse
· Dave Lawrence
· Paul J. Spence
· Terra Hazelton
· Andy Sparacino
by Chris Delloiacono
Published: April 25, 2011
I've been a hockey fan since I was 5 years old. My first memory of hockey was watching the Stanley Cup Finals in 1979 when the Rangers lost to the Canadiens in five games. Being a Ranger fan has left me with mostly disappointment in my hockey watching lifetime, but an adoration of hockey brought a distinct connection with my neighbors to the North. Now, I'm not just talking hockey love for Canada, but a passion for the country itself. I've visited on numerous occasions and learned a great deal about the nation's history. The oddest thing that ever happened to me was taking a trivia test in the Canadian portion of Epcot Center. The lady that administered the test thought for sure I was lying about my lack of Canadian citizenship.
That brings me to “FUBAR: Balls to the Wall”. I must admit that I have yet to see the original, but I will right that wrong this coming week. Following in the tradition of the '80s Rick Moranis gem “Strange Brew” you are presented with a film following a pair of Canadian twits and their idiotic misadventures. The success of the film can be tied to the lead performances of Paul Spence and David Lawrence as the moronic pair of Dean and Terry. The connection with a best friend is a remarkable one. In my mind it's one of the closest relationships a person can have with another. The chemistry of Spence and Lawrence sells their special relationship and that's the foundation the entire picture is built upon.
Told in the mockumentary style of “This is Spinal Tap” or The Office the format enlightens us about these poor souls. The format is overused these days, but I don't think there's a better format for bringing to light the misadventures of fictional morons. Of course, if all you wanted to see were idiots doing stupid things you could just watch the “Jackass” films or one of the ridiculous reality shows that people waste their nights viewing. The reason I liked the film so much is because the characters, for all their stupidity, are far more likable than most of the buffoons I've encountered in reality presentations. These characters somehow come off as more genuine people than most of the “real” individuals clogging today's airwaves.
At the heart of the story is Terry and Dean's small steps towards being reasonably responsible adults. The journey through eviction, holding a job, dealing with a close friend's settling down, building a family, and overcoming illness offers glimpses at the pathway that most of us take as we grow up. The film blends the idiotic misadventures with a stunningly heartfelt story. Rather than drama, I find humor offers a better window into my own life. It may not be a mirror into my soul, but the events of the story are easy to compare to similar parts of my own experiences. That connection of story to real life is successful what makes this outstanding storytelling!
The extras don't bring much new to the table, but they offer more of the same contained in the film. There's a feature commentary and almost twenty minutes of deleted or extended scenes. “FUBAR: Balls to the Wall” has a super lean running time of 85 minutes, which is a perfect length for a film of this nature. I've mentioned in reviews before how I relish shorter running times for most films. While the deleted scenes are hilarious in their own right, the film doesn't suffer from their exclusion.
You don't need a tragically Canadian sense of humor to enjoy “FUBAR: Balls to the Wall”, but it might help. If you are easily offended or don't like lovable buffoons than you should probably choose a different film.