Fantastic Fest 2014: ‘I Am a Knife with Legs’ tries too hard to be weird

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I am a Knife with Legs 
Written and directed by Bennett Jones
USA, 2014

Comedian Bennett Jones spent seven years making I Am a Knife with Legs. During that time he packed as much humorous material – nonsensical jokes, absurd musical numbers, crude animation – as could fit in an 85-minute time frame. Though it certainly has no shortage of madcap antics, Knife has an innate flatness that undermines most of the comedy.

Donning a European accent, Jones himself plays Bené, a pop sensation hiding out in a sublet apartment in order to evade the fatwa that has been issued against him. He is still reeling over the murder of his girlfriend, Baguette, who died at the hands of a suicide bomber (in the immediate aftermath of the incident, he thought to himself, “I’m going to kill that suicide bomber”) and isn’t sure that he cares about protecting his own life. Together with his bodyguard Beefy (Will Crest) and a box of chocolate éclairs, the morose musician explores his troubles through music and ludicrous conversation.

For the most part, Knife can be thought of as a near-endless string of jokes connected by the loosest of through-lines. Wild digressions are made from the plot that send the viewer traveling into unexpected comedic territory. In theory, this kind of approach should endow the film with a spontaneous atmosphere. The trouble is that Bennett’s humor, which is almost solely composed of wacky non-sequiturs, becomes quite predictable after a certain point. He’ll be sitting at point A and you know it’s only a matter of time before he rockets to point Z.

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Knife is a movie that tries so hard to be crazy, and this is its ultimate downfall. It strives to be an oddity of the midnight movie circuit, but it’s far too calculated to fit into such an environment. Everything, from the deliberately shoddy camerawork to Bené’s ridiculous song lyrics, is tailor-made weirdness. While there are sections of the film that succeed, there are even more that come across as stale. Four-year-old assassins would be a surprising element in most movies, but within the context of Knife, it’s the sort of thing that is to be expected.

– Jacob Carter

Visit the official website of Fantastic Fest.




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