Written and directed by Lindley Farley, The Fez Belcher Show is a comedic look at the aging punk rocker. In the 1980s, Fez Belcher (Gregory Adair) released a beloved album as the frontman of a band. He then went solo and never found the success that seemed to be imminent. He still lives in New York City’s East Village despite it no longer being the bohemian haven it once was.
Things start poorly for Fez, as he is flat broke with barely enough to take his girlfriend out. And even then, that money is owed to a fellow musician. Then things get even worse for the punk artist, as he’s told that his manager Janie (Bobbi Owens) is skimming money for the acts she represents. After being fired, Janie is on a downward spiral while Fez is approached with an interesting opportunity by the unscrupulous Grant (Christopher Lee; not that one). Grant has money, but where it comes from and why people are pounding his door down are topics best left undiscussed. Amongst all this, Fez and his significant other break up. This causes him to realize that he hasn’t truly felt anything for a long time. Now, the musician is on a mission to reconnect to his feelings and, by extension, his music.
“…[Fez] is flat broke with barely enough to take his girlfriend out. And even then, that money is owed to a fellow musician.”
Apparently, The Fez Belcher Show began life as a web series. Considering how episodic the 2-hour and 10-minute feature-length version feels, this makes a lot of sense. Fez encounters someone eccentric or finds himself in an unbelievable situation. The problem is smoothed over to some degree. Fade to black. These misadventures are more digestible 10 or so minutes at a time, as opposed to the length of this version. Parts feel very repetitive. For instance, to create his new album, Fez interviews a musician. They meet in a little restaurant/cafe, and Fez discusses what he likes about the work of his fellow musician. The next scene is Fez and this guy meeting outside somewhere to talk about this guy’s work and the new album. It is not exactly the same conversation, but it is so similar that it’s pointless. Yes, Grant calls and adds complications here, but why couldn’t he interrupt them at the restaurant? Unfortunately, many scenes repeat information from just a few minutes ago.
While the film feels its arduous length, it ultimately works. Adair is weirdly charming as the well-meaning rocker. Owens is sweet but fierce, and Lee plays shady and afraid brilliantly. Brittany Hazeldine plays Fez’s niece, Claire, and once she shows up with her sleuth hat on, she’s probably the best actor in the entire enterprise.
"…began life as a web series."