By Jude Cole (Portland, OR)
All Things Random and Phalanx Film & Video’s Marty and Doug’s New Religion has a lot of potential, but even at 45 minutes, I felt the entire affair to be too long. My advice to All Things Random and Phalanx Film & Video: Start small and then grow from there.
Meet Marty and Doug. They are the poster children for slacking off and they will do anything to avoid responsibility, especially when it comes to paying their taxes. They learn that the Church never pays taxes, so the boys get the bright idea to form their own religion. Spreading the word of God is not on the top of their list of priorities though, it’s getting laid. When they’re not trying to score, they’re busy angering the Catholic Church and the one and only son of God himself.
And therein lies the premise of All Things Random and Phalanx Film & Video’s comic collaboration, penned by Dan Conrad and directed by Dan Kowalski.
Marty and Doug’s New Religion is an amusing idea and is energetically performed throughout, for sure, but at times the project comes off like an exercise from an improvisation class that, frankly, should have stayed in the classroom.
I will say though that the project is a vast improvement on their 2007 pilot Overcrowded, which wasn’t as sharp from a writing standpoint, specifically. I also felt it tried to cram way too many subplots into the production, therefore making it very difficult to follow.
Here, the proceedings are a little tighter and there are some genuinely funny sequences, including an amusing bit involving Jesus and his attorney confronting Marty and Doug about the new religion, but overall, the final product could have used a trim or two. Also, like in the case of Overcrowded, director Dan Kowalski’s camera work was a little jarring and unfocused at times, lacking precision.
All is not lost. Greg Vorob and Dan Conrad make a likable pair of goofballs and there are some nice supporting performances, especially from Lisa Peart, who underplays nicely as Phyllis, a prudish member of the congregation. Felix Gardon is also stand out as the congregation’s most maniacal and downright loony member.
Slightly misguided, but with very good intentions, Marty and Doug’s New Religion is a step in the right direction for All Things Random and Phalanx Film & Video.