Exploiting the Archives: Control Nathan Rabin: All Wifed Out
Nathan Rabin's Happy Place (or rather, Nathan Rabin) is taking the week between Christmas and New Year's Off to prevent him from going insane (seriously, dude is on the edge! Writing about himself in the third person and everything). So the next week will be Exploiting the Archives week, where we'll be running some of our favorite pieces from the year that was.
For much of his curious, unfortunate career, Josh Ostrovsky, AKA Fat Jew, was more Instagram than man. Those were the good days for the widely reviled funnyman, when people merely complained about him being a talentless poser rocketing to stardom for no discernible reason. This was before Fat Jew’s already terrible reputation sunk even further when he emerged as the most shameless joke thief (I’m sorry, “content aggregator”) this side of Carlos Mencia and inspired an equal level of hatred and vitriol among his peers/the people he steals his material from.
The whole goddamn world learned that Fat Jew was all flash and zero substance within the past few years or so, but that was achingly apparent to the very small number of people who saw his would-be star-making 2012 vehicle All Wifed Out. The movie made so little of a splash that I did not even know that it existed until recently despite it featuring a flashy stunt cast that includes Marc Maron (who has slightly more credibility in the comedy world than Fat Jew), rapper Eve, basketball player/famous eccentric Metta World Peace and horrible human being Dustin Diamond as horrible human being Dustin Diamond.
I’m forever looking for new avenues to punish myself for Control Nathan Rabin—the column where I give the living saints who contribute to this site’s Patreon page an opportunity to punish me by forcing me to write about one of two impossibly terrible-looking new projects—so when I was both mortified and intrigued to learn of All Wifed Out’s existence, I decide to pair it with How to Be a Man, a vehicle for Gavin McInnes, the repulsive piece of human garbage who made a fortune off Vice and now continues to pollute our culture with his various regrettable endeavors, like his Proud Boys cult of sad Alt-Right loserdom. You chose All Wifed Out, which made me happy (relatively speaking) because I could watch it for free on Amazon Prime (and you can too!) whereas I’d have to pay ten dollars to see How to Be a Man and I do not want to financially support McInnes on any level.
All Wifed Out is so nakedly a Hangover rip-off that it deserves an Asylum title like The Day After Excessive Drinking. Like The Hangover, All Wifed Out follows the theoretically debauched but actually fairly time misadventures of a trio of pals after the girlfriend of lead Blandy McDullGuy (Scott Rodgers) fucks up his head with her sinister suggestion that they move in together.
Blandy McDullGuy’s party-hearty best friend, coworker and roommate Will (Fat Jew) is the kind of dude who compares living with a loving and supportive girlfriend as being tantamount to being imprisoned in a concentration camp so he decides to push his buddy even further off the path to marriage and co-habitation with the ultimate party night/pseudo-bachelor’s party.
The first sentence of Fat Jew’s Wikipedia defines Fat Jew thusly: “Josh Ostrovsky (born February 18, 1982, also known as The Fat Jew) is an American pop culture commentator, creative thief, writer, actor, model and entrepreneur.” That is undeniably true. What is Fat Jew in terms of movies, though?
The answer, not surprisingly, is a “creative thief.” Only this time instead of purloining the material of more gifted performers for the sake of furthering his sad hipster empire, Fat Jew is stealing the persona of many fat funnymen before him. In All Wifed Out, Fat Jew limply establishes himself as the saddest “John Belushi type” this side of Dan Fogler.
What is the John Belushi type? Simply put, he is a party animal. He drinks beer without apology and belches at a deafening volume and with no small amount of pride. He smokes marijuana and sasses uptight busybodies and respectable folks. He is forever giving people the business. He’ll eat cereal even for dinner and is never ashamed to show off his big, fleshy, corpulent belly, particularly in public. This dude is so nuts he’ll even eat pizza for breakfast.
The ultimate John Belushi type performance is of course Belushi himself in Animal House. If Belushi in Animal House is pure anarchy, righteous mischief personified, then the version offered by All Wifed Out is a pathetic, plastic simulacrum with all of the abrasiveness and none of the impish, manic, child-like charm or beatific sweetness.
Will calls himself an “awesome shit factory” but he’s really a Friedberg/Seltzer movie come to life, a never-ending string of campy pop culture signifiers wedded to manufactured slob attitude and pre-pubescent naughtiness. In a line all too characteristic of the film, the third member of the trio, an effete engaged dude who barely figures into the action, tells Blandy McDullGuy, “You should not take dating advice from Will. Same guy who thought John and Kate Plus Eight Was a Porno!”
All Wifed Out follows Fat Jew and his even less charismatic co-stars through a mild night that involves everything from Beer Pong (Party, bro!) to a Fight Club featuring Dustin Diamond as Dustin Diamond to a self-deprecating cameo from basketball superstar Metta World Peace that won’t make anyone forget Mike Tyson’s turn in The Hangover.
Fat Jew is the living embodiment of what people hate about hipsters. He’s the ultimate hipster, which puts the movie in a weird place. How do you get audiences to like, and root for, the purest possible manifestation of a loathsome cultural stereotype? The answer is to give Eve, who plays Metta World Peace’s psychiatrist and Will’s love interest, a pair of best-friends/sidekicks who are such sniveling, pathetic caricatures of hipsters that, according to the film’s logic at least, Fat Jew can’t help but come across as a James Stewart-like embodiment of All-American charm and decency by comparison.
One of the film’s two “bad” hipsters looks and talks like an off-brand Jesse Camp. The other looks like a cross between Camp and Horatio Santz at his biggest. We’re encouraged to laugh derisively at these painfully hip clowns and stand in stern judgment of their antics but see Will as a lovable, liberating figure because his brand of hipsterdom is theoretically different than theirs, and somehow superior.
Marc Maron rounds out an absurdly over-qualified cast as the kind of businessman who says things like, “Your idea to capitalize on the booming virtual farming industry by selling highly functional livestock, on a scale of 1 to Bill Gates, you’re sitting on his face, brother!” and talks about things like “expansion proposal” in a tone of voice that suggests that he has no idea what he’s talking about, and also doesn’t care. Why would he? He’s a minor businessman character in a direct-to-video Fat Jew vehicle.
All Wifed Out isn’t much, but it’s notable for what it isn’t more than for what it is. All Wifed Out’s title, premise, cast and the central presence of Fat Jew made me fear that it’d be a I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell-like exercise in dispiriting misogyny and pathetic scatology. Thankfully, All Wifed Out is too tame and middle-of-the-road to realize its incredible potential for frat boy misogyny. All Wifed Out is a R-rated movie with a PG-13 soul.
All Wifed Out ends with a good five minutes of outtakes designed to both pad the movie out to feature length (without them, the movie would be around eighty minutes) and to illustrate that while Fat Jew sure sure seems to be stiffly reciting terrible dialogue, almost as if saying it aloud for the very first time, he was actually improvising up a storm, just like the live-wire, beer-drinking maniac that he is.
Outtakes are almost invariably a deeply unmerited victory lap from movies with absolutely nothing to celebrate. All Wifed Out is no different. The idea is to show the cast having such a blast that they can’t help but bust out in riotous laughter. Outtakes are all about “corpsing”, or breaking character by laughing inappropriately but the only moment in All Wifed Out that rings true is an end-credit outtake where an ad-lib crazy Fat Jew goes nuts with an extended riff on how even if Eve’s character ran a marathon, he’d still very vigorously eat her ass out.
Fat Jew goes on an on and on but Eve, to her credit, not only never breaks character by laughing, but also never seems remotely impressed or amused by Fat Jew’s antics. She’s the audience surrogate when she responds to a flurry of Fat Jew zaniness with an annoyed expression that silently but unmistakably conveys intense irritation.
Just as recent My World of Flops case file Army of One forced poor Wendy McLendon-Covey to act as if a ponytailed jackass played by Nicolas Cage was an angel from heaven sent to help her struggling family, All Wifed Out asks to pretend that a beautiful, accomplished woman like Eve (who is a psychiatrist in the movie) would be seduced by the rakish charm of giant man-baby Fat Jew. I’m not sure any actress could pull off such an impossible and demanding feat, but Eve sure isn’t up to it here.
Actually, that’s not the only moment of emotional honesty in the film. Nope, late in the film, after Maron’s businessman character is fired by the Blandy McBoringDude, he grouses, as only Marc Maron can really grouse, “Fucking children. Goddamned cartoons.” He’s talking about his former coworkers/employees but he could just as easily be talking about this entire wish-washy exercise in juvenilia, which needs an adult like Maron a whole lot more than he needs it.
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