Being John Stamos

29-Feb-08 12:48 PM by
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The trailer for the new Will Ferrell movie Step Brothers alludes to the undeniable magnetism of one John Stamos. Not being familiar with this actor's work, I did some research that revealed the titularly-named I Am Stamos.

I Am StamosThis short film's protagonist is one with whose situation I can empathize: a typecast "character actor", always the supporting actor but never the lead. In the tradition of "be careful what you wish for", everyman Andy Shrub blows out his birthday candle with the hope of looking more like a leading man… more like John Stamos. Lo and behold, his wish comes true in a most unexpected fashion: his real-life visage doesn't change, but his appearance on camera shows a John Stamos body double. When he uses this newfound talent to his public advantage, the real John Stamos finds out — and he wants his fame back.

It's an amusing and clever tale with some big names (John Stamos, Clint Howard, E.E. Bell) and a low budget. Shrub and Stamos are sometimes face-to-face in a shot framed such that we the audience can also see the perspective of the camera, giving us two takes on the action: Shrub vs. Stamos, and Stamos vs. Stamos. Since no on-the-fly image substitution technology was employed, the choreography necessary to synchronize these two shots must've required extensive rehearsals and takes. The final product is impressive.

The story also offers commentary on the politics of showbiz. Andy Shrub is precluded the opportunity to even audition for a major role based solely on his looks. Is that fair? Celebrity rags are littered with pretty faces who don't have the brains to put on a decent performance, which is certainly to the audience's detriment. There's more to knowing your craft than the shape you were born with. The irony is that, once Andy Shrub lands himself his dream role, he proves himself to have little acting talent. But now he has the looks, and that's enough to get him the part.

I could embed the video here, but it has six instances of the f-word. Though such vulgarity in the film is contextually appropriate — this is Hollywood, after all — I prefer to keep this site clean in deference to my anonymous audience. You can therefore watch it on YouTube, or as a non-downloadable QuickTime movie on director Rob Meltzer's site.

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