Tribeca Film Festival: Midgets vs. Mascots

I like to attribute the success of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie not to Johnny Depp’s inspired performance, but to the fact it contained monkeys, midgets AND pirates. This trifecta of awesome made it impossible not to fail. The sequels forgot the midget and the monkey were important, and that’s why they suck. So when Firecracker and I were sitting at an outdoor table at the Village Pourhouse, and a gal handed us tickets to see Midgets vs. Mascots (official site), we had to go. There was no other course to take.
Why? Because little people rock. Jordan Prentice, from In Bruges (“they’re filmin’ midgets!” full review) stars in this Tribeca film festival audience favorite, and he was fantastic in that comedy from last year. So is Gary Coleman- “the Shaquille O’Neal of little people” and a host of less-known but very funny people. The mascots are a bunch of pathetic slobs, but real enough that you believe them. Bunny, the fragile furry freak and Gator, the sweaty slob whose belly is hanging out of his costume.

The premise is that a famous Texas little person mascot named Big Red dies and wants to give $10 million to one of his two heirs, so he has them gather 5 little people and 5 mascots each, to perform a bunch of crazy challenges. It’s somewhere between Scavenger Hunt and Jackass– taking the tried and true “inheritance challenge” formula and throwing as much offensive humor as they can into it. Sometimes it tries a little too hard to be offensive, like when the little people argue that “midget” is as bad as the n-word in a crowded restaurant, but most of the time the low-brow humor hits the mark.
It has loads of gratuitous nudity, Jackass-level stunts such as alligator wrestling, and plenty of character-based humor from the mascots- who range from loser slobs and furries to a gut-bustingly funny silent bobblehead- and the “midgets,” including Gary Coleman, playing a delightful parody of himself, Jordan Prentice being crude and sarcastic, and relative newcomer Terra Jole getting clobbered left and right. That poor girl. The movie plays at being a documentary, so everyone plays “themselves,” and you really feel bad for her sometimes.
The ending is a tad weak, but it delivers on comedy most of the time. Nice to see Jordan Prentice again- he was hilariously depraved. I hope it gets wide release, but this is the kind of movie that will explode on DVD or cable.