BIGFOOT FAMOUS (2021) Reviews [more] of vlogger comedy movie

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‘Fame is just one vlog away’

Bigfoot Famous is a 2021 comedy about a once-popular influencer who goes on a mission to film a vlog with Bigfoot and regain her fame.

Directed by Sam Milman and Peter Vass from a screenplay co-written with Steph Barkley and Chris Kleckner.

The American Bad Weather Films production stars Steph Barkley (Confess), Chris Kleckner (Copshop), Anthony Ma (Scandal), Lauren Howard Hayes and Marlon Webb.

Our review:

This comedy (despite the title and promo artwork it is hardly a creature-horror film) accurately predicted the Gabby Petito missing-persons/murder case and manhunt that obsessed much of the media in the summer of 2021. Hopefully, one or two memory cells are triggered still at the mention of Ms Petito, a young, attractive, would-be internet travel celebrity who disappeared during a cross-country van ride through the USA. She had planned to amass followers to her regular online posts with fiancé Brian Landrie, but the couple had some kind of, well, personal altercation, and Mr Landrie arrived sheepishly back home in Florida very much alone.

Later he fled into the verdure when Ms Petito’s remains were discovered, triggering a manhunt for the boyfriend and media scrutiny as intense as an all-Royals season finale of Big Brother. It seemed every well-known busybody and true-crime figure and self-promoter tried to insinuate themselves into the tragedy.

Bigfoot Famous, according to its creators (Sam Milman and Peter Vass, a pair of YouTube humorists of longstanding) was shot much earlier (as a lockdown production, in fact), largely improvised in the Northern California rainforests, long before anyone had ever heard of Gabby Petito. Yet it ticks off the major components of the case, with the exception of gender switches for the protagonists.

Coley Withers (Steph Barkley), is a rather vapid young lady, not speaking to her family and living the shallow life of a YouTube-channel personality, dwelling exclusively in the moment of PC viewership, comments and click-monetization. Her “Coley Nation” channel consists of herself and live-in boyfriend Jericho (more an easygoing business partner than a love object, portrayed by co-director Milman) doing lowbrow stunts, pranks and “reaction videos.” But Coley’s subscriber numbers dwindled so low that fellow YouTubers now make videos declaring her irrelevant.

Coley sees a comeback opportunity when amateur imagery posted online of an alleged sasquatch in the California woods gains tremendous hits worldwide. She and Jericho trek into the forest with their camera, teaming up with a self-styled Bigfoot expert (Chris Kleckner) who is actually an adult virgin running his late mother’s sasquatch gift shop, and a maniacal hunter-tracker type (Anthony Ma).

Even so, the group suffers two whole hours (good joke) in the bush with no sign of Bigfoot or viable viral-video material. Coley decides to take matters into her own hands – a fateful move, it turns out. Soon her name is indeed blazing across social media, but as a fugitive and accused killer.

Know that this is all pitched as the broadest satire of World Wide Web buffoons and their insipid ways (and, for the record, the narrative is filmed straightforwardly, not done as a “mockumentary” or found-footage-style thing). Performances are eye-rolling panto stuff most of the time. But as the cartoony cast begins to rack up an actual body count, and a self-proclaimed bounty-hunter/crime-solver and mistress of disguise (Lauren Howard Hayes) aggressively elbows her way into the investigation, this soft-edge satire starts developing fangs – if little of the actual monster variety.

Bigfoot features tend to swirl at the lower depths of backyard cinema, and the mythical American ape-man’s very name tends to be its own punchline. But go into Bigfoot Famous with memories of the Gabby Petito saturation news coverage and you can appreciate that these satire-minded filmmakers caught their prey after all, if unintentionally.

Charles Cassady Jr, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:

Bigfoot Famous is one of those films not intended to be taken seriously. It is made just for the fun of it and is intended to be enjoyed in the same vein. However, this does deliver some good social commentary that is enough to make you look beyond that outlandish storyline and somewhat bland acting.” Gh Movie Freak

“Whilst many people will be turned off by the ridiculous over the top nature of the characters and performances, look past that and stick with Bigfoot Famous till the very end for a brilliant and biting satire on influencers, the online world, and cancel culture; and surprisingly touching, if dark, drama…” Nerdly

“Even though Bigfoot features prominently in the title, he hardly actually features in the movie, which is much more of a satire on social media fame than a monster movie. However, the satire is rolled into some light, irreverent, and sometimes pretty darn funny comedy. But what makes this movie is that it also has heart and that it also has room for plenty of drama without destroying the light-footedness of the movie.” Search My Trash

Release date:

Bigfoot Famous was released on Digital by Gravitas Ventures on November 2, 2021.

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Cast and characters:

Steph Barkley … Coley Withers
Chris Kleckner … Marty Meltzer
Sam Milman … Jericho Rosenberg
Lauren Howard Hayes … Freddie Huff
Anthony Ma … Triple T
Kelsey Gunn … Martha Meltzer
Marlon Webb … Peeka Blu
Chris Guerra … Greg Campbell
Sam De Surra … Kim Campbell
Kennady Guerra … Haley Campbell
Chase Joliet … Peppermint
Peter Vass … Joey Johnson
Michael Fairman … Daddy J
Amanda Lehan-Canto … Shannon Potter
Atsuko Okatsuka … Doctor Jessica Tanaka
Nick Colletti … Big Nelson
Rosena Cornet … Violet Astaire
Justin James Hughes … Hottie Toddy
John Shartzer … Matty Taylor
Tennessee Luke … Father Luke
Ayva Severy … Jeni Powers
Ryan Mirvis … Coyote Jack
Lish Bliss … Fern
Michael Strassner … Les Gordon
Adam Margules … Morty Gottlieb
Jillian Lenna … Lauren B Cool
Annie Grove … Joanie Michelle

Filming locations:

Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

Trailer:

MOVIES and MANIA says:

This is clearly a comedy but anyone expecting to enjoy any Bigfoot action will be sorely disappointed. As the other half of its title – Famous – attests, this movie is more about a facile female social media influencer whose fame is waning and so she desperately searches for a sighting of Sasquatch to bolster her clicks.

There are some mildly amusing silly moments but tonally the plot is all over the place and it’s all fairly throwaway stuff. A very unlikely romantic sub-plot and some annoying characters in the supporting cast hardly help matters.

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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