After Bill and Ted, Wayne and Garth and Beavis and Butt-head, you could argue that the last thing the movies need is another pair of comedy headbangers. But as we follow the mockumentary exploits of mullet-haired rock slobs Dean (Paul Spence) and Terry (David Lawrence), FUBAR springs enough surprises to make an old formula feel fresh. Starting out in sub-Spinal Tap mode, the movie stage-dives into more challenging territory with the revelation that Dean has testicular cancer.
What follows is an exploration of friendship, dealing with life's hard knocks and how you can get wasted enough for jumping over a campfire in the nude to seem like a good idea. After Dean is diagnosed, he and his lifelong buddy take a road trip to the Alberta town of High River where they party with the locals. And up pops another interesting twist: while lensing this stretch helmer Michael Dowse and his crew didn't let on that they were making a bogus documentary, putting the actors' improv skills to the test as they shot the breeze with bona fide 'bangers.
"YOU DEVELOP A SOFT SPOT FOR THE CHARACTERS"
Lawrence and especially Spence's performances are spot-on, skirting the edges but never toppling into full-on caricature. However, the film's humour turns decidedly black when it zeroes in on Farrel (Gordon Skilling), the po-faced documentarian who wants to know what being a hard-drinking, naff-lyric-writing would-be guitar hero is all about. Whether the viewer emerges from FUBAR any wiser than Farrel is debatable, but it's hard not to develop a soft spot for the characters. For one thing, it's refreshing to see serious illness treated with down-to-earth humility rather than as an excuse to exploit the tear ducts. And for another, how could you not raise your six-pack to a man with such poetry in his soul as Woman Is A Danger Cat?