Fantasia Review: ‘Fried Barry’ is excessive, but is it bold or juvenile?

I will come right out and say that I did not get along with Fried Barry, but I can see why it resonates with some viewers. Grimy, greasy, seedy, and salacious, this film belongs to the cinema of excess, in which everything that happens to the lead character happens to the fullest extent that it can, complete with any undue side effects and grossness that might follow.

Is it bold or just juvenile? Honestly, I can’t quite tell.

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The film starts with Barry, a junkie and a deadbeat dad, fighting with his wife. He leaves, gets high, and then gets abducted by aliens and possessed. Arriving back in Cape Town looking normal, he begins a journey across town with an alien behind the wheel.

Here is my first problem with the film. It sells itself as a joyride around the underbelly of humanity, but it’s more like wandering. The alien in Barry doesn’t so much direct him anywhere as he takes advantage of every situation, whether wordlessly shopping with his wife or wordlessly impregnating a prostitute.

My second problem is that this film seems to take place in an alternate universe where every man is an asshole who wants to screw with Barry, and every woman is an insatiable nymphomaniac who wants to screw Barry. Not to say that any city doesn’t have a seedy side, but again, with the alien presence in Barry only being along for the ride, opportunities are missed to contrast that seedy side to the rest of the city.

For all its excess, there are a few bright spots, including a mental health facility breakout scene that is both ridiculous and exciting, but even they succumb at least somewhat to the excess of it all.

Fried Barry tries to walk the line between bold and juvenile, and while it occasionally succeeds at being on the former, it mostly sticks to the latter. It might be for you, but it was not for me.


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