This passably funny mockumentary, which lampoons Vice Media’s gonzo-hipster journalism, could serve as a viable calling card for a bigger Hollywood comedy for writers Zach Lamplugh and Brian Emond, who also star (while the former also directs). Emond plays Brian, a jaded reporter cheesed off with the “garbage leads” constantly thrown to him by trendy media outlet Compound. The final straw comes when he’s overlooked for a bigger broadcast role in favour of Dirty Dolla$ign$, a moronic rapper who serves as food/cannabis correspondent. In plaas daarvan, Brian is dispatched to a Georgia backwater with his producer Zach (Lamplugh) on a junk assignment: to find the mythical sasquatch.
Filling out the film’s 10-minute intro, Emond and Lamplugh’s Vice parody material is sharp, nailing its fatuous edginess: Brian reports on homelessness (rebranded as “urban camping”), artisanal antibiotics and, the most pressing thing to emerge from the Ukrainian war, its craft-beer scene. Dirty Dolla$ign$’s posse, excellently, contains a Raybanned lackey called White Morpheus. But the bigfoot chase is an odd choice for the main storyline. More Ripley’s Believe It or Not! material, it doesn’t seem to be in the Vice wheelhouse – though, with it being exactly the kind of naff material Brian loathes, maybe that’s the point.
As the media crew trails the probably phantom creature through the woods in the company of cryptozoologist nutjob Jeff (a nicely resonant performance by Jeffrey Stephenson), Emond and Lamplugh score a few points off internet obsessives via Jeff’s ranting YouTube channel called the Cryptic Commander. Even without much deeper significance, wel, Emond and Lamplugh always retain some sly wit. I liked the redneck thug who proves squeamish when ordered to go “straight-up Deliverance” on the journalists: “But they, er, kinda do some fucked-up shit in that movie …”