This one won’t become a classic - cult or otherwise
"Plan 9 From Outer Space.’’ “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.’’ “Mommie Dearest.’’ “Showgirls.’’ Through our dark, irony-colored glasses, we laugh at their tortured performances. We mock their crippled plotting. We memorize their every line of clunky dialogue. These films have become campy classics precisely because the filmmakers floundered on their way to producing serious art - stupendously so.
Writer-director brothers Brandon and Jason Trost desperately want “The FP’’ to become an instant cult hit. Yet their inane movie (originally a short painfully stretched to feature length) is neither obliviously dreadful enough to be “so bad it’s good,’’ nor intentionally tongue-in-cheek enough to be funny. Instead, this purposefully bad dystopian gangsta drama - imagine a “Boyz ’n the Hood,’’ “Mad Max,’’ and “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo’’ mash-up - simply fails.
In an unnamed future, two gangs fight for control of dilapidated Frazier Park (a.k.a. “The FP’’). Beclad in denim jumpsuits, moon boots, gold tooth caps, and other fashion accessories which have seemingly slipped through a “Pretty in Punk’’ ’80s time warp, the ganstas settle turf disputes via the competitive dancing game Beat-Beat Revelation (similar to Dance Dance Revolution).
The plot lurches forward when, inexplicably, moves-buster champ BTRO (Brandon Barrera) dies during a super-intense dance competition. His younger bro, JTRO (Jason Trost), wearing a Snake “Escape From New York’’ Plissken eye patch and seething with world-weary contempt, vows revenge against rival dance lord L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy), who has also lured away JTRO’s troubled love-interest, Stacy (Caitlyn Folley). As Yoda-like guru BLT (Nick Principe) leads JTRO through “Rocky’’-like training montages, he offers such sage advice as “You have to dance with your mind, not your legs.’’ Every character spews a caricatured hip-hop slang, strafing the audience with B-, N-, and F-bombs.
The Trost brothers seem savvy enough to pull off a “South Park’’-flavored satire of post-apocalyptic blockbusters that also pays homage to the video arcade/breakdance generation. Instead, their tiresome, tone-deaf, shockingly humorless “FP’’ misses countless opportunities to exaggerate the gang genre to its B-movie, comedic extreme - proving you can’t engineer cult-movie status. Only fans can make it so.
Ethan Gilsdorf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.