Review: How I Dumped My Ex-Boyfriend’s Body (2015)
By Ben Bussey
We see our fair share of low-to-no budget indie movies around these parts, yet while a large percentage of them boast at least a hint of eccentric humour, comparatively few are what we’d necessarily class as outright comedies. The Fat Foot Films production How I Dumped My Ex-Boyfriend’s Body is something of a break from the norm for us, then, for while as may be ascertained from the title the central theme is very much on the macabre side, this is first and foremost a situation and character based comedy following two best buddies who are having themselves a particularly strenuous day. If that sounds a little Kevin Smith-esque, well, I daresay that’s no accident, although one of the key differences here is that the best buds at the heart of it all are women. Hmm… is there are female equivalent of ‘bromance?’ I want to say ‘lady love,’ yet that doesn’t quite sound right. Well, actually it sounds very right to me, but… ahem, excuse me, I’m getting away from the point.
Anyway – after opening on a curiously dark note with a guy tied to a chair in a dark room facing imminent death from an unseen assailant, we then cut to Shae (Vanessa Leigh), one half of our lady love duo – okay, I won’t use that phrase again – being woken by a telephone call from her pal Maxine (Meredith L Philips), requiring urgent assistance with something. So far, so first two minutes of Clerks, except Kevin Smith didn’t dwell quite so long on Dante putting his clothes on (though this is as close as the film ever gets to sexploitation). Anyway, once Shae gets over there Maxine drops the bombshell that she accidentally killed her boyfriend in a lover’s tiff the night before by bashing him over the head with a vase. Shae seems more concerned about the vase – a gift she gave – than the dead boyfriend, but even so she’s naturally wary about Maxine’s request to help her dispose of the corpse. Still, if she just said no it’d be a bit of a shorter movie, and so the messed-up misadventure begins.
It has often been remarked that comedy can be even harder to get right than drama, and the microbudget indie horror scene is littered with evidence to support that theory, with countless bad performances and bad directors making a pig’s ear of skits which had clearly seemed hilarious at the conceptual stage. Happily, it would seem that Fat Foot Films have a considerably stronger grasp of how comedy works, and for the most part they do a really pretty good job of it. Philips and Leigh make for an engaging and charismatic lead duo with decent chemistry and comic timing, and given that the vast majority of the film centres around the two of them this is definitely key to making the film as enjoyable as it is. The problems begin with the rest of the cast; whilst all of them turn in good performances, the supporting characters get progressively larger than life. Ezra Brown as Shae’s dim-witted childlike boyfriend and Ed Gutierrez’s wannabe gangsta are largely endearing and manage not to get too over the top, but Erik Johnson’s creepy neighbour is just a little too much for my liking, approaching almost Troma-esque levels of caricature which doesn’t seem to sit right under the circumstances. Certain plot developments also throw things off balance, with wit being traded for goofiness a little too often. This tendency toward the goofy also tends to undermine the few sinister moments which might otherwise have had the potential for tension.
Still, it’s fair to say that none concerned – writer-director Dennis Nadeau in particular – came into How I Dumped My Ex-Boyfriend’s Body with political correctness foremost in mind. Again in the Kevin Smith tradition, the emphasis is first and foremost on bawdy dialogue eager to push the boundaries of taste and decency, but on top of the expected sex, stoner and toilet jokes we also have a perhaps surprising amount of racial humour, as well as a fair few disability jokes involving scene-stealing villain Josh Pineo, a wheelchair-bound dwarf. Naturally the politically sensitive will doubtless take exception to much of this, and I’ve no doubt that’s entirely the point. While much of it does feel rather unsavoury, there can be little doubt that all concerned are well aware of how potentially offensive it all is, and as such it’s perhaps missing the point to take all too much to heart. In any case, this deliberate political incorrectness makes for an interesting contrast given this is a film driven by the sort of layered female characters we so often bemoan the comparative lack of in modern film. As mentioned earlier, sexploitation is very low on the agenda, and happily there’s none of that idealised, manic pixie dreamgirl bullshit here; Maxine and Shae are every bit as stubborn, pig-headed, ignorant and foul-mouthed as any number of male leads we could name. And let’s face it, any film that acknowledges that women are every bit as disgusting as men is a good thing, right?
REVIEW COURTESY OF BRUTALASHELL.com
“Hilariously Dark” – Worcester Magazine
“This film is an instant classic!” – B-Movie Avenger
“One hell of a fun movie!” – Rogue Cinema
“This film is what separates indie films from mainstream trash.” – Wicked Channel
“Mind blowingly funny!” – The Movie Guru
Fat Foot Films presents a Dennis Nadeau Film.
How I Dumped My Ex-Boyfriend’s Body
TAGLINE: “The perfect crime …kind of …not really”
SYNOPSIS: Maxine and Shae have been best friends since grade school, so when Maxine accidentally kills her boyfriend she naturally asks Shae to help her cover up the murder. After multiple failed attempts the two decide to bring in a professional to clean up their mess, but he turns out to be nothing like they were expecting. Maxine and Shae will have to make it through the day by avoiding the police, fending off nosy neighbors, and surviving a wrathful mobster all while pushing their friendship to its maximum limits.
Meredith L. Phillips as Maxine
Vanessa Leigh as Shae
Ezra Brown as Jackson
Erik Johnson as Roger
Ed Gutierrez as Mikey
Pat Tierney as the Ex-Boyfriend
and introducing Josh Pineo as The Fixer