Not quite a documentary, but too serious to be considered a mockumentary, "Crap Shoot: The Documentary" follows Ken Close and his bumbling narrator as they cruise the streets of Los Angeles "researching" Hollywood to discover what makes a movie work. What they discover is that Hollywood isn't just a "crap shoot,' but bio-psychology at work.
Soon, however, research gives way to a raunchy road trip and "Crap Shoot: The Documentary" becomes as much about Close and his narrator as it does any serious research topic.
Ken Close is the star, writer, director and producer of "Crap Shoot." Close is a retired Lt. Col. from the U.S. Army, whose deadpan sort of presentation would be perfectly at home in a Jim Jarmusch film. He's accompanied on the trip by James E. Horton, a real life radio announcer with the voice to prove it.
An obviously inexperienced filmmaker, Close's style seems to vacillate between the more humorously confrontational moments of Michael Moore and the self-deprecating Morgan Spurlock. While "Crap Shoot" does manage to gather a few insights into Hollywood through a variety of mostly lightweight interviews, more often than not Close interrupts the insight with humor that diffuses any potential for driving the point home.
As the film progresses, Close and Horton move closer to a mockumentary style of filmmaking and, ironically, it is in this mode that "Crap Shoot" finds most of its success. While his one-liners miss the mark as often as they hit, Close is inherently funny and watching his interactions with Horton makes for an interesting view.
A decent film and solid first effort from Close, "Crap Shoot: The Documentary" had a similar feeling as last year's simply awful "The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah"...The difference? This film actually has funny moments and manages to say something.
"Crap Shoot" gets a modest recommendation from me largely owing to the irreverent camaraderie between Horton and Close, and Close's ability to keep the whole thing afloat even if one can't help but wish he'd just fully committed himself to the mockumentary.
"Crap Shoot: The Documentary" is due for release on DVD in May 2008 from Echelon Studios.