Retro Film Review: Plump Fiction (1997)

in #filmlast month (edited)


Parody is the simplest form of comedy in modern Hollywood because making fun of someone else's work doesn't require much creative effort. Making parody of recently released films is even simpler, because audience is more likely laugh at the expense of films it can remember or understand. On the other hand, there are seldom more pathetic films than such parodies when they don't work. Plump Fiction, 1997 comedy written and directed by Bob Koherr, for the most part belongs to that despised category of films.

As the title suggest, the driving force behind Plump Fiction is author's fascination with Tarantino-worshipping phenomenon which followed triumphant release of Pulp Fiction. Koherr decided to parody not only the story and characters, but also the non-linear narrative structure of Tarantino's film, making the plot of his film both incomprehensible and irrelevant. The viewers are going to see plenty of gags based on Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs and Natural Born Killers, but Koherr obviously ran out of ideas so the objects of parody aren't limited to Tarantino's work. Some scenes are inspired by other films that were released approximately at the same time with Tarantino's masterpiece. Viewers, therefore, have opportunity to see the way the work of other American "independent" directors parodied, including Rodriguez' El Mariachi, Kevin Smith's Clerks and Australian transvestite comedy The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Even that doesn't seem to be enough to fill 82 minutes of running time, so Koherr adds gags related to more prestigious Hollywood films like Nell, Forrest Gump or Waterworld.

Just like all those films were different in quality or importance, all the gags in this film vary in their quality. Some scenes are hilarious, while some aren't. Some actors are very good, especially Pamela Segall in the near-perfect Juliette Lewis impersonation or Julie Brown in humorous take on Uma Thurman's character from Pulp Fiction. But film maker's lack of focus hurts film, unlike Michael Bafaro's parody For a Few Lousy Dollars which stuck strictly to Tarantino's opus. In the end, few people would remember Plump Fiction and, after a while, even fewer would understand or laugh at most of its jokes.

RATING: 3/10 (+)

(Note: The text in its original form was posted in Usenet newsgroup on March 16th 2004)

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