Comparisons between the movie FUBAR and This Is Spinal Tap are quite common. They are both "mockumentaries" that have to do, at least tangentially, to rock and roll. Both were also largely improvised as the cameras rolled. However, while Spinal Tap spoofs the lifestyle of a rock band on the road, FUBAR takes an in-depth look at rock and roll fans: namely "headbangers". And, more than being merely a funny film, FUBAR has loftier goals than Spinal Tap. It questions the objectivity of documentary filmmaking as a whole, and also manages to be insanely funny at the same time.
FUBAR, directed by Michael Dowse, follows the lives of two stereotypical 'bangers. Terry Cahill (played by Paul Spence) and Dean Murdoch (Paul Lawrence), two life-long friends cohabiting a beat up house in a nondescript Canadian city (actually Calgary, but that's not really important). The documentary filmmaker Farrel Mitchner (who is not the real director of FUBAR, but a character played by Gordon Skilling) attempts to take us into the private lives of Terry and Dean, to reveal the truth about the banger subculture. What he gets, of course, is two guys sitting around, shotgunning large amounts of Pilsner, and generally making complete fools of themselves. But when Dean discovers that he has testicular cancer, he decides to spend his last weekend before intensive treatment by "just given'r" - going camping with Terry. The film crew follows along for a strange adventure.
Despite the simple premise, FUBAR's filmmakers (the real ones) use the situation to make an interesting point: that no documentary filmmaker can ever be completely objective, and his/her involvement in a situation will change it. To wit, Farrell, the filmmaker, inadvertently becomes one of the most interesting characters in the movie as he wedges himself into Terry and Dean's lives. The bangers tease him for his innocence and tameness, while Farrell becomes agitated that Terry and Dean refuse to do anything constructive or provide him with good documentary material. In one particular scene, the question "what do you do when you're not making movies?" causes Farrell to rant about the importance of his life since he is making a documentary, attempting to show truth. Terry and Dean fire back that, as the subjects of the documentary, Farrell's entire world actually revolves around them.
The film works very well on both levels. On one hand, we laugh at Terry and Dean's stupidity and their innane lives, while on the other we think about the false wall of "objectivity" a filmmaker makes by hiding behind the camera instead of stepping in front of it.
FUBAR was picked up by Odeon Films for release throughout Canada, and was well received at the 2002 Sundance Festival, though it was not eligable to win any awards since it was not American-made. Still, it's an admirable feat for a film made for about 350,000$CDN, (although it certainly doesn't beat the year before's independent winner: The Blair Witch Project).
Official website: http://www.fubar-themovie.com/