Culture  FUBAR at Fort McMurray

Mockumentary sequel is more about beer than bitumen

The creators of the Canadian cult classic mockumentary FUBAR are back with a sequel, and it is greasier and funnier than before. With some semblance of a budget and a higher quality feel to the threadbare production, Montreal-born director Michael Dowse picks up where he left off, but five years later. Not surprisingly, headbangers Terry (David Lawrence) and Dean (Paul Spence) have not gone anywhere. The film opens with a party to celebrate Dean being testicular cancer-free for the past five years, which quickly deteriorates into a destructive eviction party – including chainsaw wreckage, an acid trip gone awry, a fire, and more beer than any liver could handle. With nothing left in Calgary, Terry and Dean head up north to Fort McMurray in search of fast, easy money at the oil sands and of course, more beer.

Fort McMurray, referred to as the Mac, provides a gritty background for the hilarious antics of Terry and Dean. With not much else to do in town, the oil workers head to the local strip club, Peelers, after work each day, where Terry falls in love with a local waitress named Trish (Terra Hazelton). Hazelton is brilliant in the film; some of the funniest scenes involve blowout fights between Lawrence and herself.

While some reviewers have picked up on the so-called environmental aspect of the movie, there is really nothing that addresses the environment besides the incredible shots of the smokestacks in Fort McMurray, and the brief introduction of a hitch-hiking hippy Dean and Terry pick up on the highway on his way to protest the oil companies. They promptly ditch the hippy, but not before stealing his weed.

Canadian movies have addressed Alberta’s skewed energy policies numerous times before – Burning Water, a documentary released almost simultaneously with FUBAR 2, tackles head on the detrimental effect of drilling for coal bed methane on local water wells. Just last week, James Cameron himself headed up to the oil sands to publicly declare his support for the first nations tribes living with the horrific effects of Alberta’s oil industry. FUBAR 2, on the other hand, is about getting drunk and not giving a fuck. If audiences pick up on the environmental disaster created by the oil companies in cities like Fort McMurray, it is a positive, but unintended, side effect. As Spence said in an interview with the Hour, “The story is, Terry and Dean have to go up north to make some quick money. That’s the headbanger dream. And there was no intention of a social commentary, the fact that we’re in Fort McMurray isn’t because we have some message to pass on, it’s because that’s where headbangers from Calgary would go to make a quick buck.” The movie does showcase the very real phenomenon of young men moving up north to work on the oil sands and make quick money. However, the oil sands dream is quickly dashed. Dean realizes he cannot handle the work and stages an injury in order to receive worker’s compensation, while Terry is laid off due to a drop in oil prices.

“Knowledge of non-knowledge is power.” With these words, Spence sums up the idiotic confidence of the pair, one of the many characteristics that make them so appealing to audiences. Terry and Dean are just as stupid and crazy as ever, but they also grow (a little) during the film, making the pair even more loveable, and perhaps relatable, than before.