Review: The Flying Scissors DVD

STUDIO: Dinosaur Distribution | DIRECTOR: Jonah Tulis | CAST: Todd Susman, Mason Petit, Matthew Arkin, Devin Ratray
RELEASE DATE: 6/29/2010 | PRICE: DVD $19.95
BONUSES: commentary, unrated trailer
SPECS: NR | 88 min. | Comedy | widescreen | Dolby Digital stereo

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The mockumentary format has finally run out of steam. While the fake-interview documentary often makes weak material seem stronger — witness any episode of the last season of The Office or Modern Family— it only serves to show the glaring flaws in inferior concepts. It’s about time filmmakers tried something new with their big ideas, if The Flying Scissors is any indication of where the genre is headed.

The bulk of the film is made up of on-camera, played-straight interviews with the contestants of the upcoming championship in the growing professional sport of Rock, Paper, Scissors (or RPS, to those in the know). Cute idea. Let’s see where it goes. We meet the out-of-work young father, the foul-mouthed museum guard, the chronically socially inept momma’s boy, the bitter feminist, the injured veteran, and so on. Each contestant gets more than enough screen time to sell their character, and, naturally, some are more successful than others. But it’s a wearying progression that plays like audition scenes by desperate actors, one after the other, until finally it’s time for the Big Finale, the professional league championship in Madison Square Garden.

Um, well, not the Garden after all. Seems like the Coin Tossing League booked MSG so the tournament is moved to White Plains by the league officials. The tournament, it must be said, has more than enough high points to justify a casual viewing but not enough to plan an evening around.

And there you have it. Cute, frequently clever, often flat.

Director Jonah Tulis and his co-writer Blake J. Harris have completed the admirable task of seeing their modestly ambitious project through to the end, with an On Demand pick up by Warner after a 42-college audience-building tour this spring. God bless them. They have the showcase reel they always wanted.

The one actor you’ll definitely recognize here is Todd Susman, a reliable character actor with hound dog eyes and eyebrows like bold-faced parenthesis. Remarkably, there are four other rock, paper, scissors titles at Amazon, two of them feature films about pro RPS players.


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About Buzz

Buzz McClain reviews DVDs for Playboy magazine and is a former critic for Video Business magazine. But what he really wants to do is direct.