Assisted Fishing (2012) – By Duane L. Martin

Dewie Winfield is a loser. Ever since he was a kid, he’s been bullied by his "friend" Jimmy Valentine. While fishing as kids, Jimmy knocked Dewie’s lunch in the water and then stole the fish Dewie had on the hook and claimed it as his own. That fish turned out to be a record breaker, and Jimmy grew up locally famous and created a special bait called Bait King, which was the sponsor of the yearly $10,000 fishing tournament, which he himself has won the last four years thanks to a healthy dose of cheating with the help of a crooked fish and game warden friend of his that’s on the take.

When Jimmy knocked Dewie’s lunch in the water when they were kids, he noticed that the fish seemed to like his pickle. Now he’s invented a pickle lure that he’s trying to sell that uses electricity to light up the pickle, thereby attracting the fish. Then they get electrocuted and float to the surface. Not sure if that was how it was intended to work, but that’s how it worked. Anyway, to get money to market his lure and make his dreams come true, he needs $200 to enter the contest. That’s where the assisted living home comes in. His milquetoast brother Clay and his uber dominating wife Summer run an assisted living home. Thanks to a family medical emergency, they have to go out of town for a few days, and they want Dewie’s mother to take care of the home while they’re gone. He pretends that she can’t, and takes on the job himself…for $200.

The home is filled with goofy old characters. Here’s a quick rundown…

Agnes (The Tattletale) – Every rule infraction she writes down and reports. She’s a typical brown noser to authority figures.

Bernie (The Gasbag) – To say this guy farts would be the most colossal understatement. Green clouds literally come out of his butt and people choke and gag when he’s got the bubble guts.

Willie (The Bottomless Pit) – This guy is always hungry, and he’s a terminal whiner as well, always complaining about something and totally oblivious to how annoying he truly is.

Luann (Ho Bag in a Wig) – I don’t know what got into Luann, but she’s horny as a goat, constantly on the make and runs around in this very unattractive black wig.

Henry (Henry Who?) – Ok that’s a bit mean I guess. Henry has Alzheimer’s and is only lucid every now and then. Most of the time he just quietly sits in front of his chess board. When he starts talking on and off to Dewie like he’s perfectly normal, Dewie thinks he’s been faking the whole time…but has he?

Eugene (Where’s my Viagra?) – This guy has a thing going with Luann…when he can get his Viagra from Bernie, who’s the local dealer in the home.

The General (What is Your Major Malfunction???) – This guy is an old warhorse in a wheelchair who apparently doesn’t need the wheelchair, but he’s in it most of the time anyway. He’s a pissy old far, and knocks Dewie out with his cane more than once.

Then we have Monica, a local teacher who brings a kid named Billy to the home for the "Adopt a Senior" program. Dewie has the hots for Monica, but Billy is known as The Grim Reaper, because the last two old folks from the home died while he was with them. Now his self esteem is at an all time low, and everyone is afraid of him, but he eventually comes to pick The General as his senior.

The rest of the film revolves around Dewie’s efforts to win Monica’s heart, his relationship with the old folks and his efforts to win the fishing competition. Will things work out for Dewie in the end? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

To be honest, I don’t see a whole lot of independent comedies come across my desk, and of the ones that do, rarely is one actually funny. I got to thinking about this recently, and it occurred to me why this is. Comedic acting is actually a lot more difficult the dramatic acting. You have to truly understand the humor and how to convey that humor in the funniest possible way. You also have to have something that is crucial to good comedy – timing. If you don’t have those elements in your repertoire, then it’s just not going to work on the screen. The problem with independent films, is that, and seriously, no offense is intended by this, the budgets involved often only allow for the use of amateur actors who don’t have the chops to pull off the comedy in the best possible way. This leads to jokes falling flat and a very tedious viewing experience. Sometimes you get a pleasant surprise though, and you’ll find one that can get the humor across in a fun and entertaining way. So how did this film do? Well…

For the most part, this was a very fun film with quite a few really fun comedy gags. The fart scenes with Bernie were particularly amusing to me, as I happen to be a connoisseur of fine toilet humor. The guy dressed up as Dewie’s mom in the beginning of the film was also quite funny. The film was filled with amusing comments, funny gags and generally, a whole lot of fun. That’s not to say it was perfect however. There were also aspects of the film that fell flat for me, but in general, I found the film as a whole to be very fun and entertaining.

One of the big issues in the film is that no one in the home actually looked old enough or disabled enough to warrant them being there, except maybe Henry who did have Alzheimer’s. The rest of them all seemed to be mentally competent (albeit a little weird) and young enough to be capable of taking care of themselves.

Jimmy Valentine, as a character, was one that I thought was really well done. He was just enough of a douche bag to make you thing, "God that guy’s an ass!", but not so much so that he brought down the whole tone of the film, which after all is intended to be a comedy. It was a great balance that can be hard to achieve, but this film pulled it off beautifully.

From a production standpoint, the film looked very professional. The lighting was great, there were no problems at all with the sound, the visual effects worked great for the tone of the film and the editing and pacing were both really well done. It’s a quality production, and you can see that a lot of care went into it.

In the end, this film, while it has a few problems here and there, is actually a lot of fun and is filled with likeable characters and ridiculous situations that will keep you entertained throughout.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its website here. The film is also currently looking for distribution, so if there’s anyone out there who works for a distributor, I would encourage you to contact the film maker and check it out. This is a film that can be enjoyed by most people, and deserves to be out there and available so people can get themselves a copy.