I’ve been on a kick of watching really dumb movies lately. The more dumb movies that I watch, the more Netflix recommends them to me. Some of them look so absurd that I can’t resist watching at least part of them to see if they are any good.
This brings me to the latest movie that I watched over the weekend. It’s called FDR: American Badass. The movie title and poster caught my attention immediately. The description on Netflix reads as follows:
After contracting polio from a werewolf bite, FDR won’t stop at single-handedly ending the Great Depression and prohibition. With the help of a team of historic figures, he must claim victory in World War II by defeating an army of Nazi werewolves.
Barry Bostwick plays Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Despite the fact that this is a slapstick comedy, Bostwick is actually a really good fit to play FDR. He looks the part, and his acting is really good when he isn’t making a complete fool of himself. That said, the vast majority of the things that he says and does are totally insane.
Lin Shaye plays Eleanor Roosevelt. As soon as I recognized her, I knew what kind of movie I was dealing with. She has played in a countless number of crazy roles in other comedies. If you know her, then you would know what I’m talking about. She plays the role of Eleanor well, and her character is surprisingly written to be a little saner than the others.
The movie begins in the woods, where then governor Roosevelt is hunting with some other men. A werewolf chases them down, and a comically absurd shootout and fight scene ensues. FDR is bitten in the leg and wakes up in the hospital with polio and can no longer walk.
He decides to run for president. His travels and campaigning were funny, and were written to make some sort of sense. After he is elected, the movie loses a bit of direction and the passage of time was not very clear. It seemed as though 15 minutes after he takes office in the movie, he is suddenly in his last term, with little to no explanation of the middle part.
The first half of the movie was hilarious. It seemed more thought out than the later portion. At some point in the middle, it seemed like the actors began making it up as they went along, with their driving motivation being to do the craziest thing they could think of. The overuse of gratuitous profanity was hit and miss. I’d bet that a good portion of it was ad-libbed. The shock value of their language wore off after a while.
Many jokes are made at the expense of his shrunken polio legs. It is brought up many times. When he would uncover his legs, the camera would cut to the image of quivering little baby legs.
In what was likely the craziest scene in the movie, a White House secretary seduces him. Before you know it, she hoses his legs down with ketchup and mustard, and proceeds to rub them up and down while he howls in delight. That scene was so unexpected and so ridiculously over the top that I was screaming laughing. I had to pause the movie I was laughing so hard.
The split screen scenes with the world leaders talking on the phone did not amuse me very much. Likewise with the whole sequence involving Abraham Lincoln. I know that this is a crazy comedy, but Abraham Lincoln had no business being in this movie. I think that whole segment should have been scrapped.
Overall, I liked the movie. It is completely and utterly ridiculous in every way. You have to want and expect that type of movie going in, or you’re not going to like it. If FDR himself could watch this movie, I would imagine that he would not be very happy about it.
I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on Netflix. My liking is closer to a 3.5, but half stars aren’t allowed. Since portions of the movie fell flat, I rounded my rating down to a 3.