Team Pervert // 2011 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roman Martel (Retired) // September 21st, 2011
At one point, a character in this movie watches some vignettes featuring kittens running around and getting into mischief. These were more entertaining than most of the movie.
Judge Bill Gibron previously reviewed a compilation of short films by the same creative forces behind this little opus. It was called The Misadventures of J Davis, and I can see how this cast of characters and the situations would work in short 10 to 12 minute bursts. But as a full length feature...well thats where things get tricky.
Our tale starts with two mobsters facing each other down across a long table. Fatz Johnson (Latony Vonzaa Gray) refuses to sell out to Jimmy "The Ghost" Wallace ("Black Jack" Johnson), and they declare war on each other.
Our hapless hero, Jay Davis (Jay Davis) is having a bad day. His girlfriend is cheating on him, he's constipated, and his job sucks. To make matters worse, he ends up getting trapped in this deadly gang war, and the cops are convinced Jay is some kind of criminal mastermind behind the whole thing. Will Jay survive The Hostile Takeover?
Do the following items sound like they could create comedy gold? Pimps, hookers, constipation, a teeny tiny female pimp, a cop who gets his penis shot off, a woman who gets a taser to the breast, FBI agents who do nothing but yell, about 100 dick and masturbation jokes, and criminal abuse of pizza.
Yeah, some of that could be funny, and maybe with a bit more focus this could have been entertaining, but most of the time the jokes just don't connect. Make no mistake, The Hostile Takeover is low brow humor from beginning to end. A couple moments had some wit thrown in. And I actually chuckled at the scene where the gangster Fatz was dressed in a Cosby Show era sweater, reading a profanity-laden version of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham to a bunch of daycare kids. But mostly I was wondering where they found the sweater.
I also got a kick out of the bizarre character of Oxana (Natasha Pearl Hansen) who sounded so much like Tommy Wiseau of The Room that I was adding my own lines to her dialogue. "You're tearing me apart pizza boy!"
But I digress...A little low brow goes a long way, and while I appreciate there is probably an audience for endless jokes about skanky prostitutes and their pimps, I'm not it.
Beyond that, there are a couple other issues I have with The Hostile Takeover.
First, the running time. 95 minutes is too darn long for this material. While Davis manages to cram in all kinds of silly situations, they all boil down the same jokes we heard in the first 15 minutes. If they had spent a little more time building some twists into the story, the movie would not have dragged as much as it did.
Second, there are two traps many indie films makers fall into. One is lighting, which wasn't an issue here. The other is sound. I missed quite a bit of dialogue because the microphones used weren't picking up the lines, but they were picking up other background noise with great clarity. Thus, it became a game trying to figure out where the mic was hidden. And if I'm spending my time playing those games, then I know the movie just isn't working.
In terms of visual presentation, The Hostile Takeover looks like a homemade job burned to a blank DVD-R. However, they did go out of their way to provide some special features. These include: interviews with the characters, trailers for the movie, and the 10th episode of the The Misadventures of J Davis show.
If you are already a fan of Mr. Davis and his crew, The Hostile Takeover may work for you, but the sound issue is going to be tough for anyone to get past. Still, I encourage Jay to keep up with the short films. He's got some funny material that would work perfect for a quick burst of low brow laughs.
Sorry J, but this one is guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Team Pervert
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Short Film
* J. Davis Productions