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My Big Fat Independent Movie

Review Written by: Will Penley
Film: B+
Video/Audio/Extras: B+/B+/A

Directed by: Philip Zlotorynski
Written by: Chris Gore and Adam Schwartz
Produced by: Chris Gore
Starring: Eric Hoffman, Neil Barton, Darren Reiher, Paget Brewster, Ashley Head, Jason Mewes, Brian Krow, Rob Schrab
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Buy it

I guess you could say that this was a long time coming. Over the last decade, more critically acclaimed independent films have been released than at any other time in history. Hence, it was about time for a spoof. Airplane spoofed disaster movies, Scary Movie did it to the horror movies and Not Another Teen Movie poked fun at...teen movies. So, following closely in the footsteps of those films comes Philip Zlotorynski's My Big Fat Independent Movie, a comedy that takes jabs at Pulp Fiction, Clerks, Reservoir Dogs and many, many others. If you think that all the indie film fans are just a bit too pretentious or that independent film in general needs to be taken down a notch, this is the one for you.

Harvey (Eric Hoffman) and Sam (Neil Barton) are hitmen who have been assigned to pull a botched robbery in Las Vegas. Yes, you read that correctly. Johnny Vince (Darren Reiher) is a swinger from Mulholland Drive who Harvey and Sam are to take with them. On the road to Vegas, they pick up Julianne (Paget Brewster), a conglomerate of women from several independent films who has led an unfulfilling life. There are also several other subplots at work here. Anomalie (Ashley Head) is the annoying French girl who has a crush on Johnny Vince, but winds up in the arms of a foul-mouthed answering machine (Jason Mewes). There's also the Memento Guy (Brian Krow) who thinks Kenny G killed his wife, the Bald Genius (Rob Schrab) who holds the recipe to the greatest corn beef sandwich of all time and the Lanky Man (Neil Hopkins) who sounds an awful lot like Christopher Walken.

If you've seen most of the movies they're spoofing here, you will have an absolute blast with this. I haven't laughed this much in a long time. A "B+" for the film. This is a two-disc DVD set and it includes the longer, raunchier unrated version of the film. Not having seen it in theaters, I couldn't tell what footage was new, but I'm sure this version is the best. The film was shot in HD and it looks great in this new anamorphic widescreen transfer. The sound is presented in Dolby Surround 2.0 and sounds great. A "B+" for video and audio.

Anchor Bay doesn't have the best track record when it comes to DVD (Halloween, anyone?), but after the four-disc Dawn of the Dead set and this package, they are beginning to redeem themselves. Though most of the extras are on the second disc, the first holds a few as well. First up is the G-rated version of the film, which lasts for about two minutes. Pointless, yes. There are three additional audio tracks presented here for your listening pleasure. First, there's the "Theatrical Experience" track, which is a recording of a Los Angeles crowd's reaction at a special screening -- in Dolby 5.1, no less. Next is an audio commentary by director Philip Zlotorynski and producer/co-writer Chris Gore. This is a great track with loads of information on the making of the film plus a few good laughs. A cast commentary with most of the main cast has also been included. This is more of a fluff track with the cast goofing around for most of the time. The last extra on the disc is a trivia track featuring even more information on the film.

Disc two is where the real meat of the extras is, the first of which is a selection of ten featurettes. All ten of them are very informative and well worth a watch. Next is a couple of interview reels with cast and crew in which they share their own thoughts on the film. Thankfully, Anchor Bay has decided to include the original theatrical and teaser trailers on the disc, as well! 15 deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary have been included. They're worth a watch, but it's easy to see why they were cut. There's also a series of outtakes from the film. One of my favorite extras is Zlotorynski's short film, Walkentalk which is about a man who can't stop impersonating Christopher Walken. This is a hilarious short and I recommend that everyone watch it. Rounding out the disc is a selection of still galleries and cast and crew bios. The screenplay can also be accessed via DVD-ROM.

The extras get a big "A." Anchor Bay should continue releasing packages like this. So if an independent film is your bag or you're just a fan of comedy in general, be sure to check out My Big Fat Independent Movie!

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