Assisted Fishing opens with two major problems indicative of the film’s overall deficiencies. John Samaha plays a trailer park mom (in addition to another role) and director Crouch opens with her watching a commercial featuring her son, the film’s protagonist. In one of Fishing‘s nicer moves, Crouch infers that information. Derek Haugen plays the protagonist, which isn’t material information right now. Anyway, in this commercial Haugen’s invention for attracting fish electrocutes them instead.
But it’s a commercial. Why would he run a commercial featuring his product electrocuting fish? It doesn’t make sense in the narrative, just as a dumb joke. And Fishing is full of dumb jokes. Unless you like fart jokes, an iguana whose internal dialogue appears to be in “angry black guy” voice and some misogyny; I found it trying and vaguely offensive. Crouch’s greatest influence seems to be crappy “Saturday Night Live” spin-off movies. Fishing‘s primary joke seems to be how unfunny its jokes play out.
As a director, Crouch isn’t bad. About two of three shots are okay–the third usually involves someone having to move in frame and Crouch doesn’t do those well. The music choices are weak but the Florida location shooting helps. Crouch really misses his chance at establishing the setting, which would have helped. Not a lot, but a little.
Sadly, Martin Milligan’s DV photography is weak.
Efforts like Assisted Fishing are great examples of why the Troma guys really were better than anyone else at enthusiastic low budget buffoonery.
Written and directed by Joe Crouch; director of photography, Martin Milligan; edited by Crouch and Derek Haugen.
Starring Derek Haugen (Dewey Winfield), Arlan Godthaab (Henry), Gary Dion (The General), Paul James Saunders (Bernie), John Samaha (Willie / Mama Bear), Sandra Weston (Agnes), Michael London (Eugene), Willow Hale (Luann), Allyson Sereboff (Monica), Peter Vander Meulen (Billy), Theresa Marie Lynch (Summer), Bill Fox (Clay), Tim Whittet (Jimmy Valentine), Wil Philip (Game Warden), Michael Langenbach (David Monroe) and Matt Cohen (The Mayor).