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Spork


Life shouldn’t be taken too seriously. We all go through tough times that test our ability to stay optimistic. Nonetheless, even during our most serious moments, there is something less serious on our mind that proves to be a vital distraction. These moments are not typically captured well in film. It’s either a serious moment, or not. Then bizarre movies like Spork come along and capture the reality of a tough moment in a subtle, yet truthful manner.

Grade:

Spork (Savannah Stehlin) is a social outcast. Her wild, frizzy hair, big glasses and gawky gait have pushed her to the outskirts of the social scene in her middle school. Oh, she also has the difficult situation of being a hermaphrodite amongst children with an inability to understand her, excuse my lack of a more sensitive term, condition. After her only friend, Tootsie Roll (Sydney Park), injures her foot from slipping on hairspray, Spork decides to learn how to dance like Tootsie Roll and enter the school Dance Off.

In typical fashion, Spork gains friends, self-acceptance and an appreciation for life along the way. These are the only typical aspects of Spork. The film is simply odd in every sense. One way to think of it is Napoleon Dynamite fused with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Spork even has its own, not quite as awesome, dance scene at the end. The soundtrack revels in its indie style to the point of overflow until you enter the African-American community with Tootsie Roll (and plenty of the 69 boyz). Adding to the peculiarity, everyone has their own stereotype to act out.

The blonde girl squad, or mini-Plastics, exemplifies everything annoying about stuck-up, rich white girls in the early Britney Spears era. Every black character is from the hood, can dance and has an Ebonics vocabulary befitting a rapper. We’ve got a fat Asian boy with his Tiger mom. We’ve got the effeminate son of two dads. Spork has them all, and they all set out to tackle one stereotype at a time.

Director J.B. Ghuman Jr. clearly envisioned a film with cutting social commentary through the eyes and mouths of children. In all fairness, he succeeds, but only to a point. The film has some heartfelt moments, like Spork’s uber hick, older brother, who is oddly caring and loving towards his sister. These moments, along with satirical jokes and clichés that are scattered throughout, give the film an endearing quality that comes as a surprise considering the wacky style.

As mentioned in the beginning, the serious moments, or turning points if you will, have a hint of lighthearted humor to them that is greatly appreciated and helps Spork set itself apart (even more) from the rest of the films of the same ilk. Like most of the humor, these moments are subtle. A distracting milk moustache and a comically punted dog are just samples of how scenes involving great distress and heartbreak are made more enjoyable and slightly more realistic.

Spork takes a special route to an already beaten to death ending, which was actually fairly disappointing considering the way the rest of the film progressed. It had a rushed feel to it even though the film is fairly short – just over 80 min. Spork is not for everyone, that is for certain, but it includes social issues generally reserved for adult films, while still covering the teenage (pre-teen) psyche.

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