Sitting through “Shooting Vegetarians” is like watching your buddy’s garage band — it’s unpolished, pissed-off but with an undeniable energy. Its raw demeanor adds to a story that is funny, and turns out to be downright twisted.
Meet Neil, a third generation future butcher born into a long line of proud butchers. His father expects him to get off his a*s and take over the family business. Problem? Neil is a straight edge vegan, sickened at even the thought of having any part of the family business. He just wants to skateboard every night, hang at the organic coffee bar and love his vegan girlfriend. His world comes to an end when the old man forces him to come to work, so Neil has no other recourse (told to him by a chicken that kicks his a*s, no less) than to do nothing less than save the world.
I won’t go into what “saving the world” means in Neil’s mind, only to say that the film takes a sharp tonal turn with his actions. But its an unpredicability and punk asethetic that makes “Shooting Vegetarians” enjoyable. One could see it as preachy, but it never takes itself that seriously. Writer/director Mikey Jackson steeps the film in the punk straight edge scene that has rarely been shown on film. Jackson populates the film with goofy characters (the whole movie is stolen by Elodie Bouchez as an over-coffeed pixie — this girl is so riot girl cute you’ll want to marry her) not to mention the original Beauty School Dropout herself, Didi Conn, adding even more to the subversivness. The film even has a kickass punk and emo soundtrack (any film that has The Get-Up Kids gets an up vote in my book) and H20 even plays in the film.
While the problems of tone shift and some of the more oddball tendencies may put people off, Jackson does it all in good fun, ending up with a love story between one vegan and another.