Frank Filladucia (2009)

DVD Cover (Landmark Home Video)
Absurd Comedy, Comedy, Whodunit
Wilbur Scott Wilbur Scott
Wilbur Scott Wilbur Scott
Melissa H. Green Melissa H. Green

4.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: September 13, 2009
Shortly after Wilbur Scott released It's Good To Have Friends Like Frank, he realized he wasn't too happy with it and broke a promise to himself. That promise was never to redo one of his own films. After rewriting the story to add some twists and change some characters around, Frank Filladucia takes the mound once again.

Frank Filladucia was doing quite well for himself as a pitcher in Major League Baseball. While he wasn't exactly Nolan Ryan, he was holding his own; however, all that changed when he took a fastball to the noodle. The resulting brain damage destroyed his hand-eye coordination and warped his personality, leaving him one of the quirkiest men you could ever hope to meet. Four years after that fateful up at bat, Frank is working tirelessly (and fruitlessly) with his friend, Armand, on his comeback, when Armand asks a favor of him. Convinced that his wife his having an affair, he asks Frank to hide in his basement while he's away and keep notes on her. He agrees and sets up shop downstairs, and it just so happens that he hears another man enter the house not two hours after Armand has left. However, it quickly becomes apparent that something has gone very wrong, as the local doctor's dead body comes tumbling down the basement stairs. Frank takes it upon himself to solve the crime, as does a cop named Larry L'Arlevesque, a man who couldn't help but notice the connection between the murdered man and Frank coenciding with the former pitcher's "disappearance".

As is something of a Wilbur Scott trademark, he plays multiple characters in front of the camera as well as running the scenes behind it, including our eponymous Frank Filladucia. Scott seemed determined to accentuate just how quirky the guy had become, and in that regard, he played the character quite well. His vocal delivery (which was seemingly taken directly from Raoul Duke of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) was the biggest nod to this, but the real key was how disconnected he was, accented with scenes of him lamenting how he has to poop in a coffee can. However, he had one quirk in particular that really needed to be trimmed a few times, if not axed completely. Y'see, he had a habit of randomly shouting out "FILLADUCIA!", and it got annoying pretty quickly. Had it been reduced to a joyous exclamation, it probably would have been a lot funnier than it was. Frank aside, Scott also shows that he's not too shabby at a more straightforward role as L'Arlevesque, plus he had me laughing out loud in his thirty five second stint as Dr. Bianca. As for the supporting roles, Melissa Green gave a passable performance as Armand's wife, Teagan. Armand himself, however, was a completely different story. Tim Sabin was quite horrible, and would be much better suited in a role behind the camera.

One of the things I was worried about when I popped this in consisted of a note from Scott apologizing for the howling wind in the outdoor scenes. Surprisingly though, this actually wasn't too much of a problem. Sure, it's audible and some critics might find it unprofessional, but it shouldn't bother your more casual movie goers since our actors could be heard quite clearly over the sound. There was only one character who seemed to be drowned out, but I'm pretty sure that had more to do with his mumbling than the wind itself. The only complaint I really had sound-wise is a minor one, and that's with the accompanying soundtrack; specifically, with it's volume. When the songs would kick in, they just sounded a bit too loud compared to the rest of the movie, and they probably should have been brought down a smidge.

Thus far, any complaints I've had have all been minor ones, but this is the one that really killed the movie for me. You see, after that body rolls down the stairs, the film loses all sense of direction. There's a large stretch where the dead body is completely forgotten, and a lot of scenes where Frank is just wandering around the house being weird. The "mystery" of the movie is lost on us since we actually see the killer burying the body, so we don't even have that to fall back on. Sure, I'll concede that some of Frank's antics are entertaining, like when he randomly broke into the parody of "House of the Rising Sun", but the film itself just had no meat for us to sink our teeth into. And because the movie had no real direction, it had no ending to arrive at. Indeed, the final ten minutes just felt like it was tacked on because no one knew how to end it.

When the film was introduced to me, it was explained that the budget for it was little more than zero. While some of the minor complaints could be attributed to this, the main problems I had with this movie had nothing to do with the budget. Had the plot been planned out a bit more, and given a solid direction to unfold, this premise probably could have yielded quite an entertaining hour. Unfortunately, Scott's second swing at this story was a strike for me. 3.5/10
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