Debuting at the Austin Film Festival this year, The VICE Guide to Bigfoot lives at the intersecting passion of VICE documentaries with cryptozoology. Writers Zach Lamplugh & Brian Emond are at their best when their satire pleasantly bites at the tropes of click-bait documentaries with nicely sharpened barbs. I wish the general construction had matched the rest of the film at its best.
Despite its genuinely comical moments, not all of the gags about YouTube documentaries hit. A good portion of them fall flat, usually in part due to the failure of the cast to sell me on the reality. This comes from a mixture of elements, like the writers not easing off the satire to give enough heart when needed or the actors not having the skill to deliver a line that’s just too cheesy. I found the moments that worked to make the trudge through the cheese worth it.
More importantly, though, given writer/director Zach Lamplugh’s background with Adult Swim, that cheese may even be a good portion of the draw for audiences craving a late-night indulgence. It didn’t work for me, though. Even as a fan of the stranger offerings from Adult Swim, such as Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter and The Eric Andre Show, I found The VICE Guide to Bigfoot to not quite work.
While the main course of the film is comedy, every once in a while it touches that part of you that wants to believe. When the camera gazes out into the woods, my heart follows it and hopes to see something. The weird thing is that a real documentary couldn’t have captured that feeling. Only a mockumentary could get me quite so invested into wanting to believe. Or maybe I’ve just watched too many episodes of The X-Files.
Given everything it has going for it, I do wish the movie had been better put together. It would benefit from some tighter editing, cleaner timing, and stronger acting for the leads. It’s the lead that is burdened with tying the whole thing together and he just doesn’t quite make the film work as a whole.
Overall, The VICE Guide to Bigfoot is a clever little quirky comedy that’s going to have a home in a few people’s hearts. Weird, playful, and with just a touch of sincerity, it’s worth checking out.
|Final Verdict:||A fun little trip for fans of Adult Swim's weirder stuff.|