After winning both the Audience Choice and Directors Choice awards for ‘Best Comedy Feature’ at the 22nd Sedona International Film Festival, the next stop for the indie film ‘Is That A Gun In Your Pocket?’ was (naturally) the Phoenix Film Festival, where the racy comedy directed by Matt Cooper once again entertained audiences during a sold out show. Following a very successful festival run, ‘Is That A Gun In Your Pocket?’ has been released theatrically and will return to Arizona for a limited engagement at the Harkins Shea 14 in Scottsdale beginning on Sept. 16th.
The tiny town of Rockford Texas boasts a population of just over six thousand gun loving residents. These guys really love their guns; displaying them in every pickup truck gun rack, miniaturized in the hands of a clock, and dominating the local film festival marquee (The Naked Gun, Top Gun, The Guns of Navarone etc). When little Lance Keely (Garren Stitt) brings a gun to school, all hell breaks loose after the gun accidentally discharges, wounding the crossing guard. The boys parents happen to be Rockford’s power couple; attractive, athletic stay-at-home mom Jenna (Andrea Anders) and her plant manager husband Glenn (Matt Passmore). Shocked by the cavalier attitude expressed by the menfolk over the incident, Jenna decides to rally the town in order to rethink its obsession with firearms. Jenna convinces her book club, and eventually every woman in town to withhold sex from their husbands, boyfriends and significant others until every gun in Rockford is vanquished. The cocky men take on the challenge with rock hard resolve, but the women have plenty of tricks stashed up their sleeves. A showdown ensues between the sexes as they are all forced to decide which kind of bang bang really is of most importance to them. A huge cast of screen favorites such as screen legend Cloris Leachman, John Heard and Horatio Sanz, team up with a cast of promising indie newcomers such as Latina sensation Fernanda Romero, John Michael Higgins, Katherine McNamara and Chad James Buchanan for a politically charged, sexually frustrated indie comedy.
‘Is That A Gun In Your Pocket’ takes a new look at an old concept, dating all the way back to Aristophanes’ comedy “Lysistrata,”in which the women of the ancient Greek town refuse to make love until the men stop making making war. Revisited in 1971 (Norman Lear’s ‘Cold Turkey’) and again in 2015 ( Spike Lee’s ‘Chi-Raq’), Gun’ postures incessantly as a comedy that just happens to be about guns, yet politics come into play regardless of how comically they are presented. During heated town meetings, the men continually plead for the women to come to their senses while boycott organizer Jenna continually rebuffs their demands by presenting gun violence statistics, news reports of school shootings and constitutional misinterpretations. Much like the plot of ‘Cold Turkey,’ lobbying forces led by Wayne LaFontaine of the ‘National Gun Association’ flood the town with distractions, diversions and perversions to keep the men satisfied while trying to sabotage the women. Potty-mouthed granny Maxine (Cloris Leachman) provides most of the laugh-out-loud moments in ‘Gun’ with her raunchy, bawdy rhetoric. Its hard at times to tell where gun is really trying to go with the comedy, from pitching the screwball gags with oft exaggerated ironies that get a little overplayed, to dark comedy and humor with some troubling, potentially homicidal tactics undertaken by the ladies of the town that nevertheless yield wacky results.
As an independent film that took the long journey from concept to completion (17 years!), ‘Is That A Gun In Your Pocket’ is a polished, professional production that takes no easy shortcuts and offers an even palate of comedy, drama and downright raunch. Although most of the comedy relies heavily on the Hollywood veterans to deliver this film, it is clearly the young Turks in ‘Gun’ that steal the show; shooting straight and on target in every scene, ballistically bringing to the screen a modern twist on an already popular story.
Final Take – Ballin’ for bullets.