P.A. WARS Image


By Merle Bertrand | January 2, 2001

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a group of production assistants (PAs) banding together to produce a film or video in an attempt to pad their resumes and gain some notoriety. To do so, in fact, shows an admirable amount of ambition; a willingness to give up precious free time in pursuit of the goal of rising up the film production food chain. So far, so good.
But why, oh why, do co-directors Tadd Callies, Scott Hahn, Eric Seaburn, and Dennis Stay go to all the trouble to shoot a video like “P.A. Wars,” which carries a double curse? It’s a nobody-gives-a-damn-about-their-troubles send-up of a PA’s lot in Hollywood couched in an even more odious and over-used cliche: the “Star Wars” parody.
For the record, “P.A. Wars” tells the slim tale of Sponikan Sponewalker, a PA who’s returned from a run with an unpronounceable coffee concoction for his boss, Qui-Stay Gon. Qui, Sponikan’s primary tormentor, is also the chief lackey of the evil Executive Palpitadd. A few more minutes of bad Yoda jokes followed by what’s actually a decently choreographed and edited Light Saber duel wraps up this otherwise tired affair.
I’m now an AD who cut my production teeth as a PA, so you’ll get no argument from me or anyone who knows anything about film production that productions wouldn’t happen without PAs. That being said, no one outside Hollywood gives a rat’s a*s about the life of a PA, while those inside the business, who know how horrible their lot is, don’t like to be reminded of it. Combine this with the fact that one would be hard-pressed to find a more abused and over-used sub-genre than the “Star Wars” parody, and you’ve got two fairly hefty strikes against “P.A. Wars” right off the bat. Though this video is at least competently produced, it’s nowhere near extraordinary enough to overcome such inherent handicaps.
So, yes, it’s admirable to work at getting noticed in the film biz and these guys at least had the moxie to try to do something. This utterly forgettable, dog-tired subject just isn’t the way to go about it. The filmmakers warn us that a Part II may be coming soon. Let’s hope not, for their sake as well as our own.

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