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The Sasquatch Gang (2006)

DVD Cover (Screen Media)
Director:
Tim Skousen Tim Skousen
Starring:
Justin Long Justin Long
Jeremy Sumpter Jeremy Sumpter
Addie Land Addie Land
Joey Kern Joey Kern
Rob Pinkston Rob Pinkston

6.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres / Traits: Comedy, Teen Comedy, Bigfoot
Young fantasy and science fiction aficionado Gavin Gore and his friends stumble onto some huge footprints in the woods. A local cop, reporter, and a renowned Sasquatch authority investigate, while two of Gavin's dim-witted neighbors hatch a scheme to profit from the situation. --IMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 07, 2006
The opening night film for this year's Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival was "The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang", written and directed by Tim Skoussen and produced by the same minds that brought you the indie hit "Napoleon Dynamite". The film played to a sold-out crowd at the gorgeous Alabama Theatre, and catered to the kind of comedy that shot Jon Heder to immediate stardom, the kind of comedy that not everyone gets, but that most will find slightly amusing. That said, I absolutely hated "Napoleon Dynamite". I thought the humor was bland, I thought the performances wreaked, and I thought the whole pop culture phenomenon surrounding it was bloated way out of proportion. It was not a good film. "The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang" actually had moments that made me laugh. It had humorous performances, an interesting narrative style, and an awesomely lame performance from Carl Weathers (and, yes, that is a compliment). "The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang" might not have been the best choice with which to kick off the festival, but it made a majority of the audience laugh, and the Q & A that followed was very memorable, to say the least.

Jeremy Sumpter stars as Gavin Gore, a kid who loves fantasy. He has 'battles' with his friends, rents out bootleg VHS tapes to the neighborhood, and talks with the same kind of emotionless drawl as Jon Heder from "Napoleon Dynamite". We learn early on that Gavin and his friends Sophie (Addie Land) and Hobie (Hubbel Palmer) have discovered what they believe are Sasquatch tracks and Sasquatch fecal matter. They run and tell the police, and scientist Artimus Snodgrass (Carl Weathers) is called in to verify the find. Justin Long and Joey Kern star as Gavin's neighbors who need money quick and decide to fake a Sasquatch sighting in order to sell the plaster casts of the prints on E-Bay to make the money quick. Kern's character, Shirts, is always shirtless, always eating a corndog, and always talking like...well...I don't know that I have ever heard anyone talk like that before. Justin Long's character, Zerk, wears heavy metal T-shirts, drives a Firebird, and listens to The Scorpions at full blast all the time. The film centers around Gavin as he tries to win over the girl, prove the Sasquatch tracks are real, get back his stolen VHS tape, and keep his friendship with Hobie in tact. This is a film for kids, but also a film that packs lots of laughs for the adults.

The "Napoleon Dynamite" influences are obvious. That kind of humor is stamped all over this film, bit is also has heart, substance, and humor. Jeremy Sumpter is well-cast in the role of Gavin. He is not the type of kid you think of for leading roles these days, but he does a fine job of being awkward here and he looks like he's having a loud of fun. Hubbel Palmer was the real delight of the film for me, playing Hobie. His monotone delivery is absolutely hilarious, whether that was intentional or not. He had me at 'hello'. Justin Long and Joey Kern steals the show as the two scheming neighbors, and some of their dialogue is classic - the kind of quotes that people have been extracting from "Napoleon Dynamite" for a couple of years now. Once this film finds distribution, expect some of these quotes to be flying at you very soon. You might also be surprised by a couple of cameos, one from Mr. Jon Heder himself as a worker at the local laser tag, and veteran character actor Stephen Tobolowsky as Ernie Dalrymple. Both have brief, but humorous cameos, though Heder's was pretty pointless. Oh, and then there is Carl Weathers. His character is ridiculous and absurd, but he is pretty damned funny in it, especially in the VHS tape that Gavin's owns.

In summation, "The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang" is going to appeal to a specific audience, and I am sure that they will love every second of it. It appealed to me, but not for the same reasons. I enjoyed the heart of the film - the sweetness and the innocence between the relationships in the film. I enjoyed the over-the-top performances from Justin Long, Joey Kern, and Carl Weathers. I enjoyed Hubbel Palmer - just about everything he did and said. "The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang" deserves distribution so it can tap into that demographic that will worship it accordingly. Don't expect another "Napoleon Dynamite" out of this one, but it could rake up some moderate returns if it were publicized correctly. Otherwise, DVD will be a fine home for the film. This was an interesting choice to kick off the festival, but a welcome one nevertheless. The Q & A following the film featured writer/director Tim Skoussen, actor Joey Kern and actor Justin Long (via speaker-phone on set with Bruce Willis). I wish I had recorded it. Hearing about it second hand doesn't suffice.

7/10.
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