Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 113 minutes
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It’s 1999 and the Y2K threat of crashed computers, rampant violence in the streets, a water shortage and the return of a pissed off and bloodthirsty Red Foxx have people shittin’ egg rolls. But there were those that just gritted their teeth and prayed that nothing would happen and then there were those that actually took action and prepared for the collapse of planet Earth. Such is the case of Carl Foster. Just a little more than a year before Y2K, Carl began building an underground bomb shelter in his yard in which he spends the following year stocking it with food, water and even guns just in case the neighbors decide to break in to try and knick some toilet paper. Carl is more than prepared and he makes sure his family is too by hiring professionals to teach them post apocalyptic survival and running surprise fire and even flat tire drills. Yep, living with the Fosters has gotta be one big pain in the ass.
This mockumentry fails because it is just that – a mockumentary. I’m sure plenty of us knew somebody who, back in ’99, was taking the whole Y2K thing a lot more serious than need be and maybe there were even people like Carl Foster out there who were building their own bomb shelters and arsenals. In fact, forget that “maybe” bullshit. Documentaries like “Mule Skinner Blues” and “Dancing Outlaw” have proven that there are people out there stranger than some of our wildest dreams. Being that this is true, I’m more than certain there were millions of folks out there freaking out and making complete asses of themselves in preparation for the end of the world that never came. So why make a mockumentary? Subjects were bountiful and ripe for the picking out there. True this film was made in 2001, but wouldn’t it have been a whole lot more entertaining to pick up a camera and follow a few select whacko families or individuals for the year leading up to the year 2000 and then making a film with that footage? No doubt the result would be golden and much funnier than anything filmmaker Schanderson could dream up.
Mockumentaries are best when they focus on a topic that would be impossible to document because the idea is just too silly. For example, The Confetti Brothers, a mockumentary about a couple of confetti tycoons, is undeniably charming because the idea isn’t only completely ludicrous, but the filmmakers also had the comic genius to pull off rich characters and hilarious situations. On the other hand, we have highly successful and effective mockumentaries like This is Spinal Tap and “Best of Show” that focus on very normal topics that could breed actual funny documentaries. But the difference here is that the people responsible for these films are comic masterminds. Their mockumentaries are probably funnier than any real documentary on a metal band or a dog show could be…maybe…seen “Heavy Metal Parking Lot?” The filmmakers behind “Living With The Fosters” on the other hand fail to pull off any kind of funny. It’s a weak attempt and throughout the whole thing you can’t help but think that there’s some guy out there with a real life story that would just blow this film away only if the cameras had been pointed in his direction.
Posted on June 28, 2002 in Reviews by Eric Campos
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