The second trip with Dean and Terry, the west-Canadian uber-Hosers who like their music loud, their beer cheap and their women stripping, proves to be a classic sequel. While the characters are now familiar (well to the growing cult of fans of the first film), the film is bigger, louder and scope a little larger though director Michael Dowse remains married to the ‘faux doc’ style, here playing a lot more fast and loose with it (there is even a significant special effects shot) than the original. Fubar the sequel may not ‘breathe’ as much as the first one, but that is only because the boys are on a bender to end all benders. With a carefree filmmaking attitude that matches the characters overbearing yet lovable cluelessness, the film is a big sloppy kiss with no pretensions other than making its audience groan and giggle at the buddy antics of its metal-head heroes.
The action first starts with their eviction, which happens to coincide with a party for Dean to celebrate 5 years Cancer free (thus the elapsed time more or less matches the ‘real time’ between sequels. The party gets out with the arrival of a few tabs of acid, a palette of Pilsner and ginormous rapping hillbilly Tron who breaks out the chainsaws and proceeds to trash the house (“EVICTION PARTY!”) while Dean’s bad acid-trip results in a fire that simultaneously burns the place down, shades of Clerks II to kick the narrative to a new spot. That new spot is Fort McMurray (“The Mac”) home of the massive Tar-Sands oil operation, where the boys hope to land jobs on the promise of Tron. A promise he conveniently forgets when Dean and Terry actually show up. Undeterred, they force their way in by virtue of the hungry need for labour in the area.
There has been much written and said about the conditions of Fort McMurray, and Dowse has a lot of fun, particularly in the middle chapter, in exposing the half-finished suburban homes, sleazy peeler bars and snowy open streets with drunk drivers (none more drunk than Terry who puts his oldsmobile through more abuse than The Dude in The Big Lebowski). The not-quite-Everest sized obstacles that face our men in flannel include a new girlfriend that threatens to tear the boys apart, sudden access to gobs of cash and the excesses that go along with it. I’m not sure if the credit card side-plot is a direct nod to Going Down The Road (which is also documentary like and likely features Canada’s first on screen hosers) The West Edmonton Mall gets a fair bit of screen time and is a lunatic set-piece (helicopters, waterslides, pubic sex, oh my!) all on its own. Dean also hatches a workers comp scheme that would make Julian & Ricky (The Trailer Park Boys) quite proud. It of course ends disastrously and ineffectively.
Clearly all the creators (much of the film keeps that improvised feel) remain in love with these characters, but they are not afraid to have ‘bad things’ happen to them. The film can flirt with some dark places even if things finally come down to big karaoke moments and Christmas miracles. Deaner’s daughter Chastity (“Chaz”) is old enough to get a lot of screen time and she makes the most of it; his cancer doctor, and even the poor boom operator who meets his demise in the first chapter make cameos that pander like all hell to the fans, but then again that is part of what Fubar is all about. High Art this ain’t, but you can find some truthful witticisms and even heartfelt moments hiding in the margins. No worries though, Judd Apatow is in no danger of remaking Fubar anytime soon.