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Friday, March 4, 2011

Feed the Fish (2009)

“Feed the Fish is a feel good romantic comedy. Straight ahead. It is a sweet little story filmed in Door County, Wisconsin. The movie starts with our introduction to Joe Peterson (played by Ross Partridge), children’s book author of “Mr. Kitty Feeds the Fish.” Parents like its tough love message, kids love it because of the violence. Success is sure to come, and he gets an advance on his next project.
But not so fast. Joe is stuck.
He is uninspired by his current settings in SoCal and his abusive fiancé would wilt anyone's creativity, so he heads with his friend JP (Michael Chernus) to the middle of nowhere-northern Wisconsin. In winter.
The cinematography was almost a love letter to Wisconsin – from the framing the lake through a leafless tree to the attention paid to bring the beauty of the Door County night sky to the screen. “Does anyone live here?” Joe asks, looking down the small town street, not so much with scorn as with amusement at the fact that yes, people actually do. He soon meets Sif (Katie Aselton), a hockey-playing young woman home for the holidays (named for the “wife of Thor! God of Thunder!”), her grandfather Axel (Barry Corbin), and her father, Sheriff Andersen (Tony Shalhoub), who makes pop-tarts in a toaster plugged into his police cruiser’s power inverter (seriously? It does end up saying a lot about the sheriff, it turns out).
Humor comes from many places in this film. From Joe’s horrible kid’s book ideas, to slapstick scenes of JP “training” for the Plunge by running around half naked in the snow, to cultural references that may or may not get the same reaction outside of the Midwest (the Sheriff’s reaction to Joe calling 911 to report hunters in his yard ends with the exasperated pronouncement, “we shoot the deer. And then we eat them.”)
An amazing amount of people end up in the emergency room in the movie--but then, that is where some of the real 'aha' moments in the movie take place, and the ease with which charactes make hospital visits is also quite humorous. And it all ends well, like a good romantic comedy should. Quirky and enjoyable.

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