New West (Short Film)

30 Aug

Smith’s Verdict: ****

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

It’s difficult to review a good comedy. When its key purpose is to make you laugh, there are only so many different ways a reviewer can say, “That’s so funny!” And because humor is subjective (meaning, there will also be so many different ways another reviewer can say, “That’s not funny!”), it’s even more difficult to get across in a written (and relatively straight-faced) review what made this reviewer laugh out loud.

However, I was one of 200+ audience members who laughed repeatedly and consistently at (and with) a 45-minute energetic, hilarious, and unapologetically raunchy/crude comedy, titled “New West,” upon its theatrical premiere in Little Rock, AR on August 25, 2022. If you don’t believe my recommendation, consider one of the others’.

There. That’s it. Review over? Well, no, because I should probably describe the story to give you an idea of what kind of film I’m reviewing here.

Here’s the setup: cowboy Gene (Zach Keast) and horse Trigger (co-writer Coty Greenwood in a latex horse mask) were a duo of bandits and performers. (Their biggest act was as a singing duo, with a jolly old-Western song that I still hum to myself five days after seeing the film.) But then they split up, with Trigger holding onto (and enjoying) the wealth he carried over and Gene enduring life in a downward spiral. But when circumstances cause Gene (now played by Matt Jordan) and Trigger to team up against some vicious gunslinging varmints (many of whom wear black suits and sport Dia de Los Muertos masks), it may just be what they needed to come to terms with the past and the present. And they’re gonna have a crazy adventure along the way…

“New West,” directed and shot by Jordan Mears, is a laugh-a-minute romp in the same comic rhythm as the best spoof movies (such as “Airplane!” or “Naked Gun”) albeit with the gutsiness of the works of Trey Parker & Matt Stone (“South Park”) and the viscera and profane bite of a Quentin Tarantino flick. But it also has a heart to it–if anyone stays with the ridiculous amount of scatological humor throughout the entirety of the film, there is a moving story of friendship and reconciliation.

Yes. I looked. It is there. It’s amazing what you can find in a ridiculous and fun film when you’re not scoffing at its other, less “sophisticated” material. And if you’re going to criticize a film for doing what it set out to do in the first place, chances are you probably couldn’t do it any better.

Let me put it this way–it’s one thing to laugh at Trigger, a character who always wears a horse mask throughout the entire film, but it’s another thing to not only accept it but to feel for the character too. And that itself is funny to me.

Look, all I can tell you about the rest of the comedy in “New West” is that it’s shot well, it’s executed flawlessly, the timing is on point, I didn’t know what was going to happen, and I did what Jordan Mears wanted me to do when watching this comedy: I laughed and laughed and laughed.

So, there you go–that’s my way of saying, “That’s so funny!” And it wasn’t as difficult as I thought, either.

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