Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

'Nacho Mountain' is an underdeveloped comedy

Nacho Mountain (2009)
Starring: Jay Larson, Kevin Interdonato, and John Charles Hunt
Director: Mitch Csanadi
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

When Keefer (Larson) is fired from his job and catches his girlfriend cheating on him with a transvestite, his best friend Meegosh (Interdonato) suggests that he uses his gift for consuming mass amounts of food to make a living. They set up an underground eating competition--Food Wars--and soon every big eater in the area is gunning for the champ. Including born-again health food nut Mayor Fingstahl (Hunt), whom Keefer must face in the do-or-die challenge of Nacho Mountain!

"Nacho Mountain" is a throwback to the 1980s and early 1990s to the sort of comedies that you could find on USA Up All Night and as every third release in the video store. It's raunchy, silly, and turn-off-your-brain dumb. It was actually just the sort of comedy I was hoping for when it showed up in my mailbox recently.

Unfortunately, just like the majority of those comedies from the 1980s, "Nacho Mountain" cannot be described as very good.

Basically, this is a sort-of "Extreme Fighting" parody infused with as many bodily function jokes as possible. It starts strong with Keefer's hilarious dismissal from his job, but aside from the isolated gag, the film never quite gets that funny again. The main flaw is with the weak script and flabby editing. Actually, I hope that aside from the eating competition scenes--which are generally very funny--that most of the scenes of the scenes were ad-libbed from loose a loose outline, because if they weren't, then this was a script that needed a second draft before shooting started. Too many of the jokes have kernels of something very funny buried within too much babble, crudeness, or literal bathroom humor. Examples that stand out as scenes that could have been very funny but just drag on is the one where Meegosh hits on a deaf girl at a bar, the one where Mayor Fingstahl and his cop henchman are in a sauna, and the one where Meegosh and Keefer are chatting while taking dumps in a public restroom. All of these had lots of potential, but they were in dire need of refining and condensing.

I also think that if a little more effort had been put into the script, the "Footloose"-style subplot lurking beneath the surface would have been  more fully developed to great benefit. There was also potential with Keefer's ex-girlfriend and her transvestite lover that was left unrealized.

As for the cast, stand-up comedian Jay Larson gives the standout performance in the film, and his supported nicely by Kevin Interdonato. I think if they have been working within a tighter script, they would both have been excellent, and I would be raving about this film instead of shrugging my shoulders with disappointment. Larson is a talented actor, and I hope to see him again in something better.

"Nacho Mountain" may be a movie worth checking out if you looked forward to "USA Up All Night" back in the day, or if you are having a seriously bad day and can do with a little cheering up--it is silly and stupid enough that it will brighten your mood if you have an appreciation for low-brow humor. I also think it deserves consideration for its outrageous central concept. It just isn't the movie it could have been.

Note: This review was based on a screening copy given to me by distributor Chemical Burn.

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