Never Been Thawed (2005)

Rating: B

Dir: Sean Anders
Star: Sean Anders, Chuck LeVinus, Mike Gordon, Shelly Frasier

Deliciously straight-faced, this mockumentary tells of a club of frozen-food collectors and the drama that unfolds as they head toward their first convention – hence the title, the “mint in box” of entree enthusiasts. Group politics lead to tension, in particular between Shawn (Anders), leader of fundamentalist-punk band The Christers, and Vince (Gordon), who runs team-building camps for companies, based on VietCong torture techniques. From this spins off a whole alternate universe of pro-choice themed cafes, clown hairdressers and firefighters who loot burned buildings, portrayed with disturbing completeness, down to straws with foetus on them, and fake magazines like Trophy Wife.

The debt to Spinal Tap is obvious, especially in The Christers, whose evangelical conversion is more commercial than faith-inspired. However, Anders and crew, wisely, decided to aim at more than just rock music – a subject that largely parodies itself – and make swipes at everything from the disabled to sexual abstinence. Clearly not politically correct, it is highly entertaining, for the most part; about the only exception is a love triangle which is largely tedious, and feels like it belongs in a daytime soap opera. However, the movie remains a joyous demonstration of the ability of indie films to go where studios fear to tread – taking a whole herd of sacred cows and slaughtering them, mercilessly.