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By Josh Hickman | July 25, 2002

Once in a great while a film comes along which basically transforms the way you think about virtually everything. This is definitely not that film. But it probably will make you laugh a little. Gabe Weisert’s “Fishing With Gandhi” is a rib-tickling romp into nowhere. Don’t be thrown off by the picture’s painfully indie-sounding title, the term actually refers to a near-lethal fistfighting maneuver which is performed to great comic effect at the film’s end.
“Fishing With Gandhi” is a refreshingly unannoying very low-budget comedy concerning Danno (Dan Klein), who is trying to forget his widowed mother’s recent marriage to his uncle whilst hitching a ride home with two know-it-all moronic brothers, Gil and Roy (John and James Reichmuth), and Donno’s friends back home who are organizing a coming home potluck dinner. Danno, a quiet man who needs to talk about his recent family developments is only afforded a chance to listen to the ponderings and ramblings of the twin idiots who picked him up. The Reichmuth brothers convincingly portray Gil and Roy, two childish, competitive hicks who mull over and argue about everything from exploding hearts to puppy diseases to inbreeding to Brazilian chokeholds. They are irksome but endearing, flashing dead-on deadpan blank stares and pausing to “think”. Although their conversation never gets profound or touching, the Reichmuth brothers’ performances are memorable and easy to watch – you even forgive them during one scene in which they clearly really do break up laughing at each other. There is little of the overtly cartoony characterization found in Jim Varney’s Earnest P. Worrel and other country slackjaws of the silver screen. At times as they intently stare at each other and jabber about something nonsensical, one really does tend to believe they are real eccentric oaf siblings.
The performances all around in “Fishing With Gandhi” are surprisingly good considering the picture’s obviously low budget. William Birdthistle is especially effective as Donno’s irritable British roommate Giles. As Donno’s other roommate Gabe Weisert himself succeeds in portraying Steve, the well-meaning hipster who tries to be sensitive. Dan Hunt hops around as Chris, Donno’s disliked positive-thinking sports-fanatic jogging buddy. Christina Milano is green but good as Donno’s intense, thin-lipped, and overly sensitive pal Bronte.
The film goes but a little distance, yet it is packed with potential laughs and has the sort of almost undeniable likability of, say, Bottlerocket. The camerawork is rudimentary and functional. The lighting is flat and sometimes almost foggy, but not really a detraction. There is anger in the film – the twins constant bickering, Chris unexpectedly rails Giles for being a hipster snob and later punches him for being rude – but it is comic anger. And there is a lot of backhanded sweetness among the dysfunctionals. The brothers, for better or worse, forgive each other and are inseparable. Donno’s friends care for him enough to attempt to gather together in one room (without driving each other crazy) and throw a party, though it doesn’t work. Gil and Roy ponder their brothers/friends relationship. In that scene the film’s humor is typified as the brothers speak of their relationship with an uncle. Gil remarks, “Some uncles can be too friendly”. The overtones become hilariously obvious as he stares into space remembering some incident while he sucks on a corny dog. “Fishing With Gandhi” is a surprisingly funny, creative picture that is definitely worth catching.

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  1. Tim says:

    I think there was a point to Fishing with Gandhi. I think the filmmaker was trying to make people put their problems in perspective. The constant foibles we deal with daily are relative compared to others’ problems. It becomes evident when Danno arrives home and learns of the petty issues his roommates have had to deal with while he was gone, compared with the emotions Danno has been dealing with due to his family matters, and the lives of these simple brothers who are happy in their ignorance and good, friendly people overall. When Danno freaks out his roommate with the gun towards the end, which I found to be a good device for disrupting the mood of the conversation, he says something like, “these things don’t matter”. Sometimes we just need to put our troubles in perspective and “helicopter down” to a more stable place where we can more clearly deal with them.

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