My Firkin Family (2005) – By Duane L. Martin

I get a lot of screeners to review, but usually I get then after having some contact with someone. Usually it’s like, they’ll contact me or I’ll contact them and I’ll send them my address and they send me a copy of the film and I review it for the magazine. Such wasn’t the case with My Firkin Family, which I received as a surprise in the mail one day along with a letter from the filmmaker saying that he’d like to submit it for review here in the magazine. So, cool…

I never even heard of this movie, so I didn’t know what to expect. The DVD came in a sleeve, and the cover is a cute, stick-figure kinda crayon drawing with the lettering done in crayon as well. It’s printed like this…it’s not actually in crayon. Just want to be clear on that. Anyway, so I popped this thing into the ol’ DVD player and I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised.

My Firkin Family is the story of a guy named Gavin who goes home to his parent’s house for Christmas. He’s a ladies man, and yet can’t seem to bring himself to settle down with any of his girlfriends. See, he seems to have this fear of commitment, so every time he gets a girlfriend, he always ends up sleeping with them and then dumping them after a short time. Then there’s his sister Nicola. She’s a lesbian who actually comes out of the closet at the Christmas dinner. No one seemed to care. She’s an engineer who’s invented some pump thingy to be given to third world countries to help improve the lives of the people. Then there’s mom and dad. They’re pretty hip for parents, and nothing at all seems to shock them. Even when Gavin shows them his latest invention – a mold to make condoms that simulate a foreskin for circumsized men. And finally, we have grandma. She’s a slut. Nothing shocks her – she does the shocking. See, granny’s got a stun gun, and she’s got no problem using it on Gavin at the dinner table.

Anyway, the story basically covers the family discussing a variety of different topics throughout the movie. Their various outlooks on life and how the world should operate often lead to some hilarious and highly entertaining conversations between not only the family, but even between Gavin’s ex-girlfriends.

I only have two small complaints about this film. The first is that the dialogue often seemed rehearsed and recited as it was written rather than having the natural flow of normal conversation. Much of it didn’t feel overly natural, and I think this could have been an even better movie if the dialogue had flowed better. The second thing is that I think it could have been edited down and made a bit tighter. There’s one scene that comes to mind of Gavin driving along talking to himself that could have been cut down to at least half the length it was. Other than that, I really don’t have any complaints. It was a fun, well written and highly entertaining film, and it just goes to show you that it’s possible to make a fun film on little to no budget. All it takes is some creativity, a digital video camera and some willing participants.

If you’d like to find out more about My Firkin Family, or pick up a copy for yourself, you can check out the film’s website at http://www.myfirkinfamily.com.