The original title of this movie while it was cruising the festival circuit was ‘Little Fish, Strange Pond’ which probably makes a little more sense than the current title of ‘Frenemy’ but Frenemy is kind of like a hip, cool term and there a much better chance that you’ll click on the Amazon VOD button if you see ‘Frenemy’ as opposed to ‘Little Fish, Strange Pond’ which is a title that has the stench of a pompous, artsy, independent production. Nobody actually watches those artsy independent productions except the people that make them and their families and a few film critics from the SoHo area of New York. Or so I’m told. Observe the cover and you’ll see the comfortably ugly mug of one Zach Galifianakis. Yes, the stars of this little movie are actually Matthew Modine and Callum Blue but ‘Vision Quest’ was twenty five years ago and yes, Galifianakis is in this movie just a little bit more than me and you are in this movie but Zach is hot right now. I’m talking on fire! Put him on the cover. The festival cover has been provided for disclosure. Now that we have been completely misled by the marketing department in regards to ‘Frenemy’ we can now settle down and watch us some ‘Frenemy’ which is… I don’t what it is…
Mr. Jack (Modine) and Sweet Stephen (Blue) are enjoying a lovely day in the park. They are Frenemies. Or not. Who knows. Mr. Jack insists on speaking with a terrible British accent which upsets Sweet Stephen to no end. Curiously enough Callum Blue is British and speaks with a pretty good American accent in this movie.
Eventually Stephen and Jack make their way to a porno store / drug emporium run by Bucky (Galifianakis). The porno store gets robbed by the kind of character that only exists in witty offbeat comedies such as this one, and eventually this clown meets the wrong end of a gun belonging to Officer Tommy as played by Adam Baldwin. Adam Baldwin was straight killing me in this movie.
With that little bit of nastiness dispersed with and after a quick stop at the precinct to give a statement, Jack and Stephen are walking around town speaking endlessly about the meaning of life and whatnot, Officer Tommy straddles between getting drunk midday at the bar and investigating the case of a missing waitress who will eventually turn up in pieces at the local park and we will sit in on a Jerry Springer type show where the hosts verbally brutalizes a kid who murdered his parents.
But don’t you worry, all of these disparate elements will all come together at this Jerry Springer show knock off to form some semblance of a tangible plotline, with none of this plotline having anything to do with Zach Galifianakis. Outstanding.
If you were to ask me I would tell you that ‘Frenemy’ is pointless, funny, directionless, amusing, clever drivel. That is if you were to ask me. This film was directed by one Gregory Dark who also directed the classic ‘White Bun Busters’. Somewhere Gregory Dark is howling ‘I directed Porn movies! Okay? Can we move past this?’ No Mister Dark we cannot. As long as ‘White Bun Busters’ exists in the pantheon of American culture we will always have a soft spot for that seminal piece of cinemtic work. Not that I’ve seen it. Okay, I have… but let’s move on.
As far as Mr. Dark’s direction goes in this movie I am not quite sure what angle he was working here. The chances are there’s a level of depth going on here that I’m simply not sophisticated enough to comprehend but for the most part it looks as if someone set down a camera and yelled ‘Action!’ and then left the room to get some coffee until a P.A. came and got my man so he could yet ‘Cut!’, but I don’t know. There doesn’t seem to be any real point or destination or meaning to this movie, at least that I could comprehend.
But that doesn’t mean we disliked ‘Frenemy’ here at the FCU. We didn’t particularly enjoy it, mainly because we do prefer that a movie at least pretends to have some purpose, but there are some parts of this movie that were very funny, particularly Adam Baldwin, and if you pay real close attention and don’t get swallowed up by the voluminous volumes of the seemingly pointless dialog that is in this relatively brief exercise, there are some clever nuggets of stuff embedded in there.
What it all means, I can’t tell you. Don’t trust a guy singing ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ on the bus? Any movie that Zach Galifianakis might have showed up in the last ten years that couldn’t find a distributor will soon find one and they will put Zach on the cover of this movie? I just don’t know.