Let me just say that this film really took me by surprise. Early on I was convinced I was watching yet another cheapie rip-off of Clerks. But then a funny thing happened and it was called “Why We Had to Kill Bitch” and it came from… Pittsburgh! Just in time too, since us film geeks with a sense of humor have all but given up on Mr. Smith ever since he left that burning bag of excrement called Dogma at our door. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, its just that “WWHTKB” reminds me so much of what I loved about Smith’s early work, what with its screwball antics, pop-culturally savvy dialogue, and wicked humor that those old wounds were reopened. And don’t even get me started on Jay and Silent Bob. “WWHTKB”, while a hit or miss affair, is a welcome and original addition to this sub-genre of the film-literate sex comedy. And like Smith’s classic, which it openly acknowledges and liberally evokes, it’s a film just begging to be watched and quoted over and over again. Nickel and cohorts simply make it near impossible not to like this film.
“WWHTKB” takes the form of a film student’s documentary (or mockumentary rather) about a dorky, though savagely hip (hey, it takes one to know one) movie theater worker named Eugene (Gregory Caridi) and his increasingly lame attempts to get some tail. Think Dante from “Clerks” meets Jack from “Cinemania” (you know, the guy that pushed a lady down for sitting in front of him after being late for a film), with a hint of Woody Allen at his randiest. At first, things are looking up for Eugene: he’s finally able to get his hated boss (“Big Dick”) fired by drafting phony complaint letters to the theater owner, a really hot chick (Alison McAtee) into movies shows him some interest (as if!), and he seems at last to be over his vicious, “succubus from the 7th level of Hell” ex-girlfriend Karen (Kristin Pfeifer). But before poor Eugene can get the girl and win the day he’s got some major obstacles to overcome, namely his well-meaning, though impossibly troublesome friends, the return of Super Bitch, his revenge-seeking and samurai sword-wielding boss, oh… and some horrible new John Travolta movie (is there any other kind really?). Meanwhile Eugene’s buddy Kevin (Anthony J. Bishop) is filming all the “real life” shenanigans for his Intro to Video class. Apparently, he needs the grade to make up for his previous project, a badly dubbed copy of “Das Boot”. You see, it was what his film would’ve looked like, had he the Wolfgang Petersen coin. And so goes this wacked-out little gem.
Despite this being one of those films self-professed hipster film critics love to love, I found myself almost completely given over to its charms. Hey, we like what we like. Sure, many of the jokes fall flat, the wacky story and situations sometimes play like desperate attempts to amuse, and it picks on easy targets like say, John Travolta. What really won me over though was the sheer energy and manic wit on display both in front of and behind the camera. For a cast of unknown Pittsburgh players, these guys (and girls) were uniformly hilarious. As Eugene, Caridi virtually nails the role of the sensitive nerdy type who’s always looking for love but fails to see it when it’s right in front of him. As Eugene’s best buds Stanley and Quentin, John Yost and Greg Johnstone nearly steal the show with their constant bickering and buffoonery. And lest we forget, Kristin Pfeifer summons holy hell as the Queen of All B*****s. I could have done without the cartoonish performance of Jason Steele as the world’s most idiotic drug dealer George, but that’s just being nit-picky. A farce is nothing without a funny cast and this one’s got it in spades. The bee’s knees. (And you gotta love a director who names his characters after famous directors. Don’t even tell me you didn’t notice.)
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