Directed by Sean Baker
Starring Scott Brindle, Angelique Fronike, Mike Milne, Steve Kennett, James Inman, Paul Garner, Lisa Wight, Martin George, & Matt Sweeney
Indie Film Review by Chris Olson
The underdog story is normally dedicated to narratives involving younger characters. Athletic journeys to victory like The Mighty Ducks (1992) or The Karate Kid (1984), pop star competitions such as Pitch Perfect (2012), or the plethora of dance troupe movies, all have this formula of starting with a bunch of hopeless youngsters that, through hard work and determination, become the success stories of their respective fields. That is not to say the underdog genre does not apply to adults, and there are some amazing films that also utilise the formula, it is just that even they have a slightly younger feel in order to comply with the thematic obligations, and using comedy to keep them tonally consistent (Cool Runnings, Miss Congeniality etc). Indie film, Any Major Dude, from director Sean Baker and written by John Holdsworth and Peter Tomalin, falls most definitely into the latter category, with a movie that is a charming underdog comedy, if a little hokey.
Colin (Scott Brindle) is having something of a mid-life crisis. Facing the pointy end of a colonoscopy, as well as some doubts about the monogamous nature of his marriage, he sets about making a bucket list. The three life goals he sets are: cruising Route 66 on a motorbike, learning to surf, and playing in a rock band. After quickly ascertaining that the first two are perhaps a little too whimsical, the band idea takes shape, as Colin corrales his mates to join him regardless of their musical talent. As with all underdog tales, there must be a looming competition or deadline, which is set by a party for Colin’s wife (Angelique Fronike) which he sees as an essential way to prove many things to himself.
Made with a tiny budget, it is quickly obvious that Any Major Dude will not win any technical awards. Aside from a few drone shots, the movie does not try to do anything miraculous in terms of cinematic flair, and that is to its credit. If the movie tried to be outlandish with the filmmaking, it would have struggled to keep audiences involved in what is otherwise a pretty engaging story. That being said, the audio is pretty poor in some scenes, with wind blowing through microphones and sound jarring between cuts. A little more attention to these elements would have been appreciated. The use of songs between scenes is really lovely though, and was in keeping with the film’s tone.
Watch the movie trailer for Any Major Dude above.
The characters are engaging, and the script offers them some good moments of comedy. At times the film slipped into Richard Curtis territory, offering a delightful combination of English wit, comic timing, and that warm, fuzzy feeling he is famous for. One particular misunderstanding that one of the band members (Paul Garner) has with a neighbour (James Inman), who thinks he is propositioning him for an orgy, is a fantastic thread which runs parallel through most of the movie. There is also an enjoyable section in a music shop involving a feckless sales executive (Matt Sweeney).
This is a charming, feel-good film that has a little bit of adult humour thrown in for good measure. A little like watching your mate’s rubbish band playing in a talent content, if you go in with good intentions and a little forgiveness in your heart and alcohol in your blood, you will find yourself tapping along with the rhythm because you want them to succeed. There is nothing remarkable about the film, or the performances, but everyone does their part enough to make it a pleasurable experience with a few laughs and mild drama.