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The Foot Fist Way

Mr. Miyagi you are not

Fred Simmons (Danny R. McBride) is a Tae Kwan Do master in his mind. The self-deluded Simmons runs the half-baked Concord Tae Kwan Do studio in a strip mall. He spends his weekends breaking a few wooden boards as part of similarly half-baked demonstrations designed to encourage random mall goers to sign up with him. They usually don’t.

The Foot Fist Way is the first project from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions and it has their comedic DNA stamped all over it. Fred Simmons is the kind of character Ferrell has specialized in over the years. Simmons is self-consumed, egomaniacal, deluded, ridiculously overconfident, and inevitably more than a bit of a schmuck. Danny R. McBride is no Will Ferrell but still manages to elicit a reasonable number of laughs.

While Simmons may not be a true Tae Kwan Do master, he still does have a modicum of skill (and a strange brand of charisma) and thusly inspires the band of misfits that frequent his dojo. Most of his lessons end with someone getting kicked in the face or in the nuts, but Simmons special band of charisma keeps them coming back for more.

Unfortunately, Simmons charisma doesn’t seem to work too well on his wife, Suzie who cheats on him…twice. The second time is the real coup de grace as she not only cheats on him, but cheats on him with his idol, undefeated 8 time karate champ, Chuck "The Truck" Williams. His honor insulted, Simmons has no choice but to unleash hell on Chuck "The Truck" with laughable results.

The Foot Fist Way has no shortage of awkwardly comical moments, but Simmons is the kind of character who’s a bit tough to get behind. It would be one thing if life just seemed to crap on him despite the fact that he tries his best and he’s really a good guy. But, Simmons is so self-absorbed and delusional that the misfortunes he encounters seem like karmic retribution. He deserves to get his ass handed to him.

The only other minor shortcoming of The Foot Fist Way is a story that kind of meanders at times. There are a number of scenes in the film that are undoubtedly funny, but don’t necessarily move the characters or the story in any meaningful direction. But, given that this is Jody Hill’s directorial debut, it’s a bit easier to overlook some of these minor blemishes. It’s no comedy classic, but The Foot Fist Way isn’t too far off.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars