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Giving every sign of having cost less than a good set of cutlery, Bennett Jones‘s I Am a Knife With Legs aspires to cult fandom with a sensibility owing much to Flight of the Conchords. Though its musical component isn’t nearly as inspired as the Kiwis’ straight-faced song parodies, this tale of a pop star in hiding is at moments quite funny and offers just enough surrealism to appeal to substance-enhanced viewers. Though too intentionally eccentric to be celebrated as a piece of found-object nutso art like The Room, the film might turn a profit with even a few dozen ticket sales in festival midnight slots; those who share its strange wavelength will likely support a video release with “you gotta see this” word-of-mouth.
Any description of Knife‘s plot risks giving the incorrect impression that the film tries to sell that story’s reality; clearly, it expects us to be in on the joke. Writer/director/nearly-everything-else Jones, affecting a Gallic accent and Frenchifying his own name, plays Bené, who is holed up in a crummy Los Angeles apartment awaiting death. “How did I get here waiting for death?,” he asks rhetorically in voiceover. “I’ll tell you.” But first he must observe, apropos of nothing, that “this eclair is weird.”
Using crude drawings instead of live-action footage, the movie gets some big laughs while quickly recounting Bené’s youth and rise to “international pop stardom”; but just as we’re laughing at the fact that his girlfriend is named Baguette, he tells us how she was killed by a suicide bomber.
After that tragedy, somebody on a web site called Fatwalist issued a call for Bené’s murder, sending him scurrying to this undisclosed location. Now a tubby pal named Beefy (Will Crest) protects him while trying to get him to get over his broken heart. It was just a suicide bombing, after all.
Most of the film consists of (poorly recorded) dialogue, interrupted by stream-of-consciousness songs whose accompanying videos consist of public domain footage, cheesy video editing tricks, and pixelated psychedelia. It takes audacity to fill the screen with so much nothing, and Jones will divide viewers into camps who find the project endearing and those who can’t sit through more than 15 minutes. The former group is eventually rewarded with action, as an assassin shows up for a quasi-parkour chase through the streets and our heroes encounter a six year-old Chinese girl described as “the most dangerous person who will ever live.” (Viewers who’ve seen Will Ferrell’s The Landlord will experience some deja vu.) It’s hard to guess whether all this represents a comic imagination that could flourish in a proper film or not. But doors have certainly opened for web-series creators and Twitter comics whose output is less distinctive.
Production company: GlobalMax Video
Cast: Bennett Jones, Will Crest, Tommy Malatesta, Ashley Koiso
Director-Screenwriter-Editor-Producer: Bennett Jones
Director of photography: Dallas Hallam
No rating, 83 minutes
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