Fang (2012)

Fang is the short film that inspired the ill-conceived independent feature Michael, which sort-of continues the story of one of the characters from Fang.

 

In Fang, we come across two highly obnoxious men: Michael and “Billy Boy”. They both consider themselves to be “players” and try to sleep with as many women as possible, telling whatever lie they have to in order to achieve their goal. First we see Michael, who is of course going to be the main character of the feature film named after him. “Billy Boy” (who – we learn in a throwaway line in Michael – has been missing since the events of this short film) is the primary main character in Fang. Shortly after we first meet Billy, he is harassing a woman in the street trying to convince her (poorly) that she should have sex with him. He finally wears her down, it seems. She takes him back to her flat, but it might just be that “Billy Boy” (who is nicknamed after a German condom brand) has met the one woman he really should have given a miss…
The short ends with Michael running into the same woman, who takes him back to her flat as well, setting up the events of the feature film.

 

Since the short film was almost certainly shot before the idea for the feature film arose, there are some minor inconsistencies if you look at the feature film as a continuation of Fang; but none of those inconsistencies are big enough for this story continuation to not work.

In terms of cast, Amanda da Gloria, who plays the mysterious woman in Fang, did not return to reprise her role in Michael as she had moved on to bigger and better things.

 

Fang features the same lame jokes, puns, and innuendo as the feature film, but they seem less frequent and relentless. They also feel less egregious, because unlike Michael this short film has an actual story to tell, so the jokes are pushed a bit into the background. And this short somehow manages to hit the tongue-in-cheek angle that the feature film misses by a mile.

Content-wise, Fang is an often cringeworthy but at times diverting look at obnoxious men and – one might add – the women who support their behaviour by turning a blind eye and even by lying to themselves. There is a danger in this construction, however, because the minor supporting female characters in Fang are drawn in such a way that most of them come dangerously close to be the dumb, contemptible beings the male characters claim them to be and treat them as. So this seems to me one of these cases where, despite possible good intentions, the writing is risking to miss the mark because of a lack of sophistication.

 

What Fang benefits from is the fact that it is a short film. I believe that a lot of possible shortcomings that are unacceptable in a feature-length film – in terms of writing, humour, coherence, acting, etc. – are more easily forgiven in a short film, mainly because they don’t keep torturing you for another 70 minutes.

Most importantly, the main reason why this short film works as a story and why I am ready to forgive many of the issues mentioned is that these obnoxious male caricatures do get their “comeuppance” in the end.

 

So, while it is certainly not the most brilliant comedy short ever made, I am ready to rate Fang at about 5.5 out of 10.

 

 

PS: Fang is included in the apparently crowd-funded and self-published DVD of Michael. On that DVD, Fang is subtitled English (but, unlike the feature film, not in Spanish).

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