I like to describe reviewing films as telling parents how ugly their babies are. This is how I feel about Frackers. Now, I did find the underlying story interesting. Tales about the afterlife tend to be either an indictment on religion or a fantastical morality tale, which is Frackers. Living up to your potential is a good moral, but it’s hard to take this concept of the hereafter seriously, which is why the film goes down the comedy route.
The cast is good. The actors are a likable bunch, and they’re clearly having fun working together. My issue is that the comedic characters they play are too over-the-top, which adds to the film’s overall silliness that I’ll describe later.
The comedy is the biggest problem of the film. It’s essentially taking a script, then going page by page, asking the question, “wouldn’t it be funny if…?” Wouldn’t it be funny if our lead dies in a giant plastic bubble and arrives in heaven still inside that cumbersome plastic orb? Wouldn’t it be funny if one of the executives of StarCo spoke like Ahh-nold Schwarzenegger? Or was a 7-year-old (which was actually funny)? The film is non-stop silliness and tries its best to reach its very earnest ending.
“…a likable bunch, and they’re clearly having fun working together.”
Comedies are challenging to pull off because they are subjective. While I like more sophisticated humor, others may want a massive joke-fest, and others still may wish for a raunchy time. Also, when comedy fails, it fails big. The problem with Frackers is that it presents a series of humorous “wouldn’t-it-be-funny-if” gags, but merely presenting a gag is not enough. It requires that the gag must set up a punch line of some sort to induce a laugh or that the joke has to be clever and original. Without these elements, a comedy falls flat, and watching it becomes laborious.
Frackers is a comedy in desperate need of experienced comedy writers. The underlying story is not horrible, but the jokes on top don’t do it any favors. Now, the critical question. Is Frackers so bad, it’s good? Maybe. I will say the quality of comedy and silliness is consistent from start to finish. It might make a good episode of the podcast How Did This Get Made.
Frackers is available on-demand at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/frackers.
"…the quality of comedy and silliness is consistent..."