Pizza The Movie (2004) – By Duane L. Martin

Have you ever been obsessed with a woman? The kind of a woman who would make everything in your life all right if she would just smile in your general direction? Well three years after high school, Kevin Miller (Craig Wisniewski) still feels that way about a girl named Valerie who he’s had a crush on for years and who just happens to be back home from college for a week visiting her family. So what’s the problem? Well Kevin has this unfortunate habit of freezing up every time he gets the chance to talk to her, but fortunately for him, his ever dilligent and dorky friend Barry (Jason Muzie) has a plan. First they’re going to dress up like ninjas and steal her garbage, and then he’s going to tap her phone, and then once they know enough about her, he’s going to work up a scheme whereby Kevin will end up having a “chance” encounter with Valerie (Eva Conrad) so he can finally do or say something to impress her. Well the garbage thing didn’t reveal much, but according to Barry, the static plagued phone tap revealed through a conversation she was having with a friend that she loves “French”, “Vanilla Ice,” and “Oka”. Pretty helpful huh? Well, between the two of them they assume that “French” means that she loves French food, so Kevin, after finding out that the average bill at the fanciest French restaraunt in town averages three hundred dollars, goes on a quest to raise the money before Valerie’s vacation break is up and she goes back to college. Barry suggests that he could make extra money by delivering pizzas for the pizza place he works at. Kevin, desperate to get the money, agrees. This leads Kevin on a series of encounters with some of the most bizarre people you’d ever not want to meet.

There’s only one real problem I had with this movie, and I’m going to get that out of the way now because there’s a hell of a lot more that I liked about it. The one problem I had with it is that the dialogue all sounds like it was memorized and delivered exactly as written. The problem with that is that the various conversations don’t really flow in a natural manner because dialogue that may sound natural in a script, may sound a little less natural when recited word for word by someone. I haven’t decided yet if the line delivery added to the charm of the movie or if it was detrimental to it, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a few watchings to make that determination. Still, the dialogue itself was great and that’s why the delivery doesn’t matter as much in the long run. I mean, it is a comedy after all.

Now, as for what’s good about it… The main characters are all likeable, even the pissy ones that you wouldn’t normally think you’d end up liking turn out to be decent people. The nice thing is that they all have some depth to them. There’s always the feeling that there’s entire life stories behind the characters, which makes them genuinely interesting people rather than the two dimensional cardboard cutouts you see in so many other films. I do think Barry, Kevin’s doofy friend was a bit overdone at times, but he had some quirks that made him a really fun character. I don’t want to give things away, but Barry has a special relationship with sock puppets. That’s all I’m gonna say about that, but it was highly amusing. The pissy “Italian” guy (Alex Adzioski) who owned the pizza place and the bitchy delivery girl Wendy (Daniela Mangialardo) both had some great moments and interactions with each other. There’s a stoner delivery guy as well who has a really nice part where he fills Kevin in on some pizza delivery folklore about “the goddess” who’s kind of every delivery guy’s dream. I won’t go into the story here, but it begins with delivering a pizza and ends with a wild night of circus sex.

The pacing of the movie was just incredibly well done, and every bit of it flowed perfectly. This was due in large part to the fantastic editing job done by Greg Edward. Never heard of Greg Edward? Well neither have I, so let’s move on. No, I’m kidding. Actually the editing was done by the director Donald Gregory, and this was a name he assumed in the credits because apparently he’s got a pet peeve about having the same name show up in the credits over and over again. In any case, he’s a seriously talented editor judging by his work in this film and because he’s so multi-talented, I’m sure he’s got a long and really awesome career ahead of him.

Now a comedy is supposed to be funny. I know I’m not the only one who’s seen some “comedies” where you could actually hear people snoring around you. I think we’ve all suffered through at least one…hundred of them, but fortunately, this isn’t one of those snorefests. There are quite a few genuine laughs in this film and a lot of amusing situations and encounters that make it an enjoyable experience from start to finish. Living with genital herpes can be a hassle, so I talked to my doctor about Valtrex. Wait a sec…damn television! I shouldn’t watch TV while I write reviews. Anyway, some of the funnest moments came from Kevin’s encounters with the various people he was delivering pizzas to. There was the big black guy who was a stare down master, a guy who had been taken to the cleaners in a divorce and was now living with his mother, college chicks who scammed him to steal a pizza out of his car, a guy with a shotgun, an overweight, a middle aged woman with bizarre teeth who said she didn’t have any money and instead offered him “favors”, a cheap lady, a lady who hated mushrooms, a chick who was really pissed off at her boyfriend, and more. I think you get the idea. In a movie like this, wacky characters and messed up situations make the film, and writer / director Donald Gregory pulled off his vision quite well, leaving me feeling that the 98 minutes of my life that this film took up were not wasted at all, but were in fact well spent. In fact, this film is going to be taking up a lot more of my life, and here’s why…

Unlike many independent film releases that are poorly put together or are just average at best in their professionalism, this one is highly professional. It’s got excellent packaging, great sleve design, an inner sleeve with a chapter index that has an amusing bit my Mr. Gregory on the other side should you decide to turn it over and read it, and the DVD itself looks like a pizza! How can you beat that?!?! Well, I’ll tell you how. You can beat it by loading the disc with tons of really sweet extras. Here’s what’s great about this disc: It’s got 5.1 surround sound as well as normal stereo, cast commentary, drunken commentary (my favorite), subtitles in English, French, Spanish and Pig Latin, audition reels, deleted scenes, a making of featurette, outtakes, and a soundtrack that’s actually included on the dvd itself and is playable from the extras menu. I have never seen that before on a DVD film release, but it’s an awesome idea. The best part about this is the fact that the music in this movie was great. They did a great job of selecting the songs and all the music they used really suited the film nicely. I can’t even tell you how impressed I am with the production quality of this release. In fact, I’ve been listening to it while I write this review. So basically, what you have here is a disc that’s easily worth at least $17.99 being sold for $12.00 plus $2.00 shipping. So basically, if you buy this DVD, you’re going to get way more than your money’s worth. If you like independent film and you want to support the film makers by buying their releases, then you should definitely spend your money on films like this one.

You can head on over to the Pizza The Movie website if you’d like to find out more about the film, and / or pick yourself up a copy.