NOVEMBER 8, 2007
I must have been in traffic or something the day Fido was in theaters. What else could explain it? I remember hearing about the movie a lot in the spring, and then I sort of forgot about it. Then yesterday I am at the video store and there it is, Billy Connolly’s zombie face snarling at me. A quick check of Boxofficemojo confirms the film came out on June 15th, 2007, and eventually grossed a paltry $304,533, but I’m still a bit fuzzy as to how I missed its entire theatrical run. I live in LA! We’re a select city!!!
Anyway, I didn’t miss much. It’s an OK enough film, but a lot of the jokes seemed pretty obvious to me, and others were just recycled from other zombie comedies (including a few that were done in a short film I myself edited, 6 years ago!) or movies that satire the 50s suburban dream. There are some great jabs at the current state of “protection”, such as when a government agent happily announces that everyone will have their photo taken for protection, but they are few and far between.
In fact that’s kind of the problem with the movie: it’s supposed to be a lot funnier than it is, but it doesn’t really work as a zombie movie either. I’ve seen Shaun of the Dead so many times that I no longer laugh at 90% of the things that made me piss myself the first time around, but I am still entertained by the film. I can’t imagine watching Fido again will be a particularly thrilling experience, especially since the film barely has a narrative and instead functions as a collection of setpieces.
The film’s most interesting character is a neighbor played by Tim Blake Nelson. He has a zombie pet that subs for a lover, and he knows how to fix (or break) the collars the zombies wear to keep them in control. All of his scenes are a delight, and I wish there were more of them. Plus, I admit... I wanted to see a guy nail a zombie. Comedically.
The strangest thing about the movie is that I was consistently having déjà vu as I watched it, but yet couldn’t place any of the movies that it was somehow reminding me of. Like, it seemed like I had seen Dylan Baker play this exact same role before, but all of his roles I can think of have nothing to do with playing a somewhat assholish dad in the 50s. Likewise, the film’s main focus (the friendship between the kid and Fido the zombie) seemed familiar, but I can’t think of another film that even had domesticated zombies other than Day of the Dead (and the end of Shaun), which this movie obviously does not resemble. Weird.
Like I said, it’s not a bad movie, but they failed to milk the ideas and satire for what they were worth, settling for obvious gags and repetitive “Oh it’s funny because he’s a ZOMBIE!” type scenarios.
What say you?