If you review a mockumentary, you are duty-bound to mention Christopher Guest. I’m pretty sure it’s a law of reviewing. Guest’s mockumentary classics (such as “Best in Show” and “Waiting for Guffman”) are the gold standards by which all other mockumentaries are measured.
Director Todd M. Jones’ new mockumentary, “Throws of Passion,” has a premise you could easily imagine being done by Guest and co. — the movie shows the events surrounding a rock, paper, scissors tournament.
And “Throws of Passion” showcases rock, paper, scissors in all of its, well, glory. This is a “sport” in which each participant — no matter what age, size, etc. — has a 50 percent chance of winning.
The key to the movie, and its greatest charm, is that a few of the participants are in on the joke and others aren’t. The fact that some of the “athletes” realize its ridiculousness, while others treat it as seriously as life or death, offers a nice dichotomy.
The movie was reportedly shot on a $1,000 budget and you can see the limitations created by the meager budget, but you can also see a cast and crew fully committed to the cause. Even if all of the jokes don’t hit the mark, enough of them do to add up to 75 minutes of solid entertainment.
The movie’s biggest flaw is that the actual tournament is given short shrift. What seems like a prime area for comedy is sort of glossed over, and characters you spent the entire movie getting to know are dispatched rather quickly at tournament time.
However, it’s a forgivable mistake — and maybe even an understandable one. If you have an event that people actually spend time training for that is, in effect, a coin toss, then the preparation for the event is arguably the more interesting route to take.
In the end, “Throws of Passion” is a nice, little gem of a comedy that gets more than than its money’s worth in laughs. Guest would be proud.
“Throws of Passion” premiered at the 2010 Soho International Film Festival in February. The movie also was nominated for five Maverick Movie Awards in acting categories.
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