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Folk Hero & Funny Guy Review

By David Kempler

Two Guys Hit The Road

Jeff Grace's "Folk Hero & Funny Guy", which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last year,  is unusual, but not because it covers unfamiliar territory. It's your typical buddy film where the buddies are incredibly unlike each other, yet the relationship still works.

What makes it unusual is that despite a stale and uninteresting opening twenty-something minutes, it manages to pick up momentum until it becomes a pretty decent buddy flick. It works because of the performances of the three central characters.

The two buddies are Jason (Wyatt Russell), a good-looking, successful folk singer who attracts pretty ladies by the truckload and his childhood friend, Paul (Alex Karpovsky), a stand-up comedian whose career is not on a star trajectory.

Paul's fiancée has recently dumped him and he's still reeling from it and Paul is no babe magnet, either in looks or in his ability to chat them up. His personal life is not going any better than his professional life.

Jason comes to Paul with the suggestion that Paul join him on tour and open for him. Paul initially hesitates for a few reasons, one of them being that a stand-up comic opening for a folk musician doesn't make much sense. Jason persuades Paul to join him by telling him that it will be good for Paul's career and besides, what does Paul have to lose?

Jason has a hidden alternative reason for going on this small and hastily arranged tour. It's an excuse to see a woman he once rejected, because he has now convinced himself that he is in love with her and that it's time for him to settle down.

At one of their first gigs, Paul talks to Bryn (Meredith Hagner), a cute and talented singer who performs at an open mic night before Paul and Jason take the stage. Paul shows interest in Bryn, but the way the characters have been defined means that we know that Paull will once again lose out to Jason. Jason soon invites Bryn to join them on tour. This means even more angst for Paul, like he doesn't already have enough.

From this point on, "Folk Hero & Funny Guy" becomes a pretty good piece. Up until the three of them go on tour, Paul and Jason are shallow caricatures. The addition of Bryn makes it far more vibrant and believable.

One problem I had, though, is that literally until the final scene I never quite bought into Paul and Jason as lifelong friends. It's just very difficult to picture. The last scene finally makes it possible to believe that these guys could share such a strong bond. If this could have been established earlier, Jeff Grace might have had a real winner. He does have a folk hero and a funny guy, and a pleasant movie, but he could have had a lot more if Paul and Jason had real chemistry before the closing scene.

What did you think?

Movie title Folk Hero & Funny Guy
Release year
MPAA Rating NR
Our rating
Summary A pleasant, odd couple buddy flick gets better as it goes, but by the time it really gets going, it's over.
View all articles by David Kempler
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