Fat Man and Mr. Taco (2006) – By Christopher James

 I watch films on a rather constant basis. When I grab an independent film or go to a film festival that hasn’t been bought out by the studios, then I sit down and see a load of films shot on video. The film market these days is overloaded with crappy movies that some kid shot in their backyard with their mom’s video camera. A few broke through making it the hip thing to do–shoot your movie on a crappy video camera. So when I sat down for a movie with the interesting title of "Fat Man and Mr. Taco", I expected the worst. I expected just another film shot on a crappy video camera by an actor looking to show off their talents. What I got instead was a movie reminiscent of the surge of indie films that came out around the time Swingers and Pulp Fiction came out. Those movies came out in a time when dialogue and performances were more important than bad special effects. A time when shooting a film on a video camera was reserved for people who would never get a shot at making a film.

Perhaps the most striking thing about this indie is the fact that it is shot on film. While most these days, as I mentioned, are shot on video, this film comes shot on film and looking great. This is one of three things that makes this flick stand out.

The film stars Eric Edwards. You might remember Edwards from Sgt Bilko, Blade, or National Lampoon’s Senior Trip. Edwards typically played the funny fat guy. If you watch Edwards in Senior Trip, you’ll find he does funnier stuff in the background than anyone else does in the rest of the film. He literally steals Sgt Bilko out from comedy legends. He was working constantly in A grade films until the day he decided to lose the weight. And boy did he lose it. According to imdb.com he lost 210 pounds. What Fat Man and Mr. Taco is all about is Edwards semi-autobiographical life after he lost the weight. Since losing the weight, in real life and in the film, Edwards has trouble getting a job. He has an agent that tries to convince him to gain the weight back. The story follows Edwards trying to get his life on track, falling in love, and meeting a group of funny characters along the way. This is the second thing that makes this flick stand out. The acting is terrific. Most indies have a problem finding good actors. This film has every part filled with capable actors, many of which are working constantly. Jorge Garcia (Lost), Sherri Shepherd (Beauty Shop), Gina St. John (E!), Steve Valentine (Crossing Jordan), Kristen Minter (ER) and Brian Lally (LA Confidential) are just a few of the familar faces that pop up in this stellar comedy.

The third thing that makes this film stand out is that it relies on story over special effects. It’s a sweet, witty, realistic story about one man’s struggles to overcome all the bad things going on around him. The dialogue is great and not forced like most.

So you have an indie with great acting and story that looks great. It’s a very smart movie that’s above and beyond most of the indies out there. Hell, it’s better than most of the studio flicks too. It’s an offbeat romantic comedy that takes a stab at Hollywood while telling a great story. Fat Man and Mr. Taco is smart, witty and sweet. If this is the kind of film you’re looking for, then this is the one for you.