There’s no shortage of raunchy comedies focusing on bachelor party shenanigans gone awry. In films like Todd Phillips’ box office smash, The Hangover, man-children must ceremonially transition from a carefree existence to the somewhat less exciting but, potentially, more fulfilling realm of the domestic, through a series of sexual and substance-related trials. Typically, the male bonding in these films kicks into overdrive when boneheaded debauchery leads to unexpected consequences and in the case of writer/director Ben Kent’s new comedy, real danger.
F.U.B.A.R. presents a unique entry into this “one last hurrah” category, mixing the rapidly disappearing bro comedy with survival horror. Thanks to an ensemble of comedically-committed performers, a laugh-out-loud script, and genuinely exciting action movie flourishes, Kent’s film—for the most part—avoids the trap of sexist tedium and empty sentiment. Instead, F.U.B.A.R. delivers a crass comedy of errors that’s pitched just over the top enough to inject a healthy amount of dumb charm to an otherwise stale genre.
“The boys have booked a “Walking Dead” themed, survival paintball experience, where they will traipse through the woods whilst being stalked by fake zombies…”
A group of childhood buddies, dubbed “Da Crazy Crew,” are seeing one of their own, Sam, off into the oblivion of married life with one last wild weekend. The core group of “the crew” includes Sam (Sean Verey), the ineffectual wiener who can’t seem to win the approval of his fiance’s father, Myles (Timothy Renouf), the douchey lawyer, Toby (David Mumeni), the ultra-uptight recent father, and Eric (Danny Kirrane), a total idiot who can’t seem to separate reality from fantasy. The boys have booked a “Walking Dead” themed, survival paintball experience, where they will traipse through the woods whilst being stalked by fake zombies.
The festivities are dampened a bit by the presence of Sam’s future father-in-law, Gerald (Mark Heap), and his brother-in-law, Brandon (Jake Abbott), who do very little to mask their utter hatred for the groom-to-be. Also along for the ride is an old friend and enlightened drug dealer, Cheese (Perry Fitzpatrick), and “crazy crew” wannabe, Al (Ewen MacIntosh).
What starts out as fun and games (you know, canteens filled with vodka, paintballs to the a*s, etc.) becomes more than the group bargained for when a freak accident changes everything. From here “da crazy crew” must figure out how deep their bond really runs, and band together as the fantasy weekend turns into a true fight-for-survival, growing more nightmarish (and funny) with every unlucky turn.
“…for all its “guy code” bullshit holds one very important card up its blood and beer-soaked sleeve: it’s actually funny.”
Violence, profanity, and bathroom humor fill the proceedings, and it’s mostly successful, but one of the main keys to F.U.B.A.R.’s success is a refined understanding of a particular breed of British loser. There are shades of Edgar Wright in the film’s depiction of British nerds as just marginally more intelligent and moral than their macho counterparts. Kent’s film includes all the whining and aimless slackerism that makes Shaun of the Dead such an endearing favorite. Kent’s style may lack the formal hyperactivity of Wright’s, but his writing and direction are crisp and energetic, and his cast throws themselves into the put-downs scoffing indignations, moments of outrage, and puerile word games with aplomb.
Every reaction and situation is cranked up to “11”, and rather than losing its effect, this viewer found himself swept up in and fully engaged with the excitement and momentum of F.U.B.A.R.’s endless stream of foul-mouthed banter and even a little touched by its pathos. Of course, the film’s sins are typical of the infantilized, man-centric antics viewers have come to expect from similar entitled romps (women relegated to objectified categories of w****s or nagging partners and left largely offscreen, bestowing false importance on normative displays of masculinity). F.U.B.A.R. however, for all its “guy code” bullshit holds one very important card up its blood and beer-soaked sleeve: it’s actually funny.
F.U.B.A.R. (2018) Written and Directed by Ben Kent. Starring Sean Verey, Mark Heap, David Mumeni, Danny Kirrane, Timothy Renouf, Perry Fitzpatrick, Even MacIntosh, and Jake Abbott
8 out of 10 stars