The best parodies are fueled as much by affection as by jest—Mel Brooks even went so far as to dedicate High Anxiety to Hitchcock. But My Big Fat Independent Movie, a spoof of indie movies from the Internet behemoth Film Threat, feels motivated by envy more than anything else—it’s a sour, petty act of mockery that values its own ineptitude over genuine cleverness, travestying Quentin Tarantino and others simply for dreaming up gimmicks that worked. My Big Fat lampoons Swingers, Pi, The Good Girl, Amélie, Time Code, even Mulholland Drive. But this snarky indie-on-indie smackdown tends only to hold up an unflattering mirror to itself. “Please, no more pop cultural banter!” the Memento character cries to the Pulp Fiction hit men, a plea perhaps prompted by the screenwriters’ inability to write the same. Even the best gags—surprise motel room accoutrements (“For your torturing pleasure, please enjoy this complimentary undercover cop”), a bit involving Clint Howard as a Keitel clone called “the Mechanic”—have a tendency to go one line too far, amusing the actors at the expense of the audience. In the end, the only thing fat about this comedy is the pregnant silence that greets it.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 15, 2005