Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Roller Town (2012) ***½

NR, 76 min.
Director: Andrew Bush
Writers: Andrew Bush, Mark Little, Scott Vrooman
Starring: Mark Little, Kayla Lorette, Scott Vrooman, Adam Robert Bayne, Jordan Talbot, George William Basil, Brian Heighton, Pat Thornton, Evany Rosen

Perhaps my mind is just a little too warped, but I liked this movie much more than it might seem to deserve on its surface. “Roller Town” is a Canadian spoof of… what? I can’t exactly say. The 70s? Roller skating? Hollywood formula? I don’t know, but it’s funny as hell.

The story follows Leo, who is the hottest thing on four wheels, but as a disco dancing roller skater in a town obsessed with everything 70s and on skates, the disco kids are from the wrong side of the tracks. All Leo wants it to be accepted into the preeminent school for ballet skating, but he can’t get around his upbringing in a roller skating disco rink. This movie has it all, a forbidden romance between Leo and one of the skating ballerinas, gangsters set on changing the roller skating rink into a mind numbing video arcade, and the funky music we all remember so well from the Disco Duck days.

It all silliness, but it’s ooh soo good. It’s filled with non-sequitur humor, and spot on 70s/roller skate culture spoofery. It makes a surprisingly good companion piece to yesterday’s “Saturday Night Fever” with its Bee Gees spoof band and their raunchy lyrics. I loved how some characters are treated like big name movie stars play them, when they really look like just anybody. I also loved how the lead rich kid was guided everywhere on his roller skates by his posse. He obviously had no idea how to skate.

Some people might just find this material dumb, but I think it’s a fine example of how the spoof can work as its own subgenre, rather than just a referencing tool to other popular movies. “Roller Town” is the “Airplane” or roller skating movies, and the “Blazing Saddles” of late 70s/early 80s popculture dorkiness, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

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