>> The Foot Fist Way (7/10)

The Foot Fist WayFred Simmons grew on me.

I didn’t like him at first. I didn’t like his pompous attitude, I didn’t like how talentless he appeared, especially in regards to his ego, and I didn’t like the condescending way he interacted with others. So, when this movie was about ten minutes in, I got a little worried. I knew Danny McBride’s performance as tae kwan do instructor Simmons was the centerpiece of the internet-hyped independent comedy The Foot Fist Way, and if I didn’t like him, didn’t find him funny, how would I be able to enjoy the movie?

Things started to turn a little for me around the introduction of Simmons’ awful wife, Suzie (Mary Jane Bostic). Simmons begins to show a little more depth, some different sides to his seemingly one-note personality. Perhaps more importantly, the movie started getting funny, and the more I got into Simmons, the more I could understand him and even sympathize with him, the funnier it got. This comedy snuck up on me, and by the film’s end, Simmons is almost Rocky-like in his ability to get the audience to literally cheer for him.

There’s a loose plot for this comedic character study that follows Fred Simmons into probably the darkest point in his life, discovering in succession that neither his wife nor his idol, Chuck “The Truck” Wallace (Ben Best) are all that they’re cracked up to be in his own mind. Simmons feels very real, despite his buffoonish behavior, in the same way Ricky Gervais’ David Brent felt real in the UK version of The Office. This sort of character creation by an actor, able to write their own role, as McBride did here, alongside Best and director Jody Hill, is strengthened by adding that real layer of pathos under all the karate pratfalls.

The Foot Fist Way has some of the best profane, misogynistic one-liners since Anchorman (and features the best “tell off” scene in any movie I think I’ve ever seen). There’s some great quotable stuff here, and the independent spirit of the movie reminded me in some ways of Clerks. It’s unpolished in much the same way Clerks was, while being sort of wonderful in its own way. Maybe I wasn’t rolling in the aisles, maybe it wasn’t the comedy gem of a lifetime that the early reviews hyped it up to be, but it grew on me.

Yeah. I think I like Fred Simmons.

7 on a 1 to 10 scale

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4 Comments

  1. I disagree about McBride feeling real in the way Gervais does. I thought it was due to me not ever really meeting anyone like McBride, but that isn’t it because I haven’t met a Gervais-like Office character either, but I feel like I have. The extreme pomp of the McBride character is someone I’ve only really seen in a movie, but that isn’t to say the character wasn’t enjoyable to watch.

  2. […] >> The Foot Fist Way (7/10)Things started to turn a little for me around the introduction of Simmons’ awful wife, Suzie (Mary Jane Bostic). Simmons begins to show a little more depth, some different sides to his seemingly one-note personality. …Filmcans – https://filmcans.wordpress.com […]

  3. My old high school was filled with Fred Simmonses.

  4. I thought the Foot Fist Way was hilarious! I loved the one liners and just the off beat type of comedy this film had. I’ve seen Danny McBride in other films, most recently Pineapple Express and he really delivers a great performance. I think 90% of that movie was just improv. Anywho, I can’t wait to see more of McBride. Good review John!


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