Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Intramural (2014): Yet Another Sports Parody Film

Intramural (2014)
dir: Andrew Disney

SIFF 2014 Film #26

One of the hardest things about reviewing small ambitionless movies is trying to decide how to say that these small, tiny, independent movies which have no hard feelings towards anybody are not very good. Or, worse, that they're merely OK, but that the movie itself is well worn subject matter that has been tackled time and again.

And, so it is with Intramural, a movie that parodies sports movies and college movies in ways that you've seen 10 times already. In Intramural, Caleb Fuller is about to marry some rich daughter of a powerful law firm in order to shore up a job prospect. Suddenly, he has a crisis where he wants to make up an Intramural team one last time before he goes off to live his pre-determined life path. So, he has to get the band back together, run through the usual sports movie tropes, including the now requisite parody of sports movie tropes, to win the big game and get the other, better for him, girl.

We've seen it 100 times before, but, as with improv shows, where these movies are supposed to shine are in the freshness of the jokes. Unfortunately, Intramural isn't all that fresh either. Bradley Jackson's script for Intramural relies heavily on well-worn treads of having a jock fraternity, a ragtag team, and a well-meaning coach in a wheelchair straight out of Upright Citizens Brigade. Periodically, Intramural has some gem moments, such as the coach coming up with the nonsensical advice "You've got to shit on the ceiling," and then actually having the team help Caleb to shit on the ceiling. Or, a particularly clever sports movie parody montage. And, the two guys who hang around the bleachers being sub-ESPN sports announcers for the teams are particularly genius. But, beyond these few moments, much of Intramural is rather expected and dull, kind of like a Saturday Night Live episode. And, I'm not talking about the good ones.

I suspect that if you were drunk or stoned and particularly liked the sports movie parody genre, you could do worse than Intramural. People in the audience seemed to enjoy the easy going SNL-inspired humor of the genre. And, if you like late-era SNL, you may actually enjoy Intramural. But, really, the only truly original part of it was the gay stereotyped character who also wanted to be a magician. Despite the semi-stereotype (gay, goth magician), he wasn't the butt of any gay jokes, or even the butt of the stereotype jokes...which is something I guess. He was funny. Yay progress!

On the other hand, the women are reduced to 2 character, one being an annoying whiny rich bitch, and the other being the epitome of the trophy trope. And, yet again, there is a team of butch women who call themselves Manhaters and are the butch lesbian bull dyke stereotypes. All of which is, "Yawn." Seriously, guys? Move on...

All in all, though, Intramural is far too lazy of a movie to fully enjoy. It's probably best as one of those movies you'll pull up late night on a Friday or Saturday still drunk or high with a couple of your friends and you don't want to watch anything that will make you go, "Whoa!" It's silly enough to make you get the high giggles, and will otherwise entertain your easily entertained friends. But, watching it sober in the middle of the day is a chore.

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