Folk Hero & Funny Guy

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Folk Hero & Funny Guy Movie Poster Image
Low-key, bittersweet dramedy has some mature content.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

Not yet rated

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Celebrates the idea of taking chances, even if those risks sometimes don't pay off as expected. Taking them, trying, is what makes life worth living.

Positive role models & representations

The characters are likable but flawed and not particularly admirable; on their journey, they learn through many failures how to achieve a measure of satisfaction.

Violence

Arguing.

Sex

Topless woman shown in bed with a man. A woman initiates a threesome with two men; the men remove their shirts. A main character is said to have slept with several women. Sex toy shown. Several sexual references.

Language

"F--k" and "f--king" are used several times, plus "motherf----r," "bulls--t," "s--t," "a--hole," "prick."

Consumerism

References to Facebook, Tinder, Evite, etc.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Cigarette smoking. Frequent social drinking, with comic drunkenness. Reference to "420."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Folk Hero & Funny Guy is an indie dramedy about two old friends, a singer and a comedian, who put their relationship to the test on a road trip. There's some mature content: A topless woman is shown, a woman initiates a threesome with two men (they remove their shirts), and one of the main characters is said to have slept with more than one woman. There are also several instances of sexual innuendo, as well as strong language ("f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "a--hole," etc.). Characters frequently smoke cigarettes and drink beer in bars throughout the movie, with some comic drunkenness. The characters' relationships are more interesting than the story, and the movie is more bittersweet than it is funny, but older teens and up may enjoy it.

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What's the story?

In FOLK HERO & FUNNY GUY, Paul (Alex Karpovsky) has just suffered a terrible break-up, his standup comedy career is going nowhere, and he's starting to think that maybe he should go back into ad copywriting. Meanwhile, his old friend -- mellow, bearded Jason (Wyatt Russell) -- has become a successful folk rock singer and is preparing to go on a tour of various, small East Coast clubs. On a whim, Jason asks Paul to come along and be his opening act. Trouble begins when they meet Bryn (Meredith Hagner), an up-and-coming singer whom Paul falls for and whom Jason wants to perform with. As the tour goes on, little truths come out, such as Jason's pining for a lost love (Melanie Lynskey) and Paul's refusal to update his material, which leads to more arguing. Can their friendship survive?

Is it any good?

Written and directed by Jeff Grace, this laid-back, bittersweet comedy at first seems a little formulaic, but as it goes along, it relies less on silly situations than on interesting characters. There are hundreds of movies out there about an uptight character and a carefree character who get together and teach each other lessons, but Folk Hero & Funny Guy overcomes the cliches of that premise.

Paul can be a little hard to take as he continually performs the same dismal, dated joke (about Evite) time after time, without ever realizing that it's bombing; it makes the character seem a little dimmer than he really is. But Russell, the son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, proves that he 's inherited his parents' star power; he effortlessly makes Jason a most appealing and believable singing star. It's easy to believe that just about anyone would willingly go along on his half-baked tour. All together, the two leads, as well as Hagner's Bryn, seem to click on levels that involve real emotions and real reactions. If the movie gives the impression that it's going to be uproariously funny, it's not, but it's still quite engaging.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Folk Hero & Funny Guy's sexual situations and dialogue. Is sex used for humor, or does it represent a loving relationship? What's the difference? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • How are drinking and smoking depicted in the movie? Are they glamorized? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

  • Even though some of the characters don't get quite what they're looking for, does the movie still encourage trying and taking chances? How?

  • What's the appeal of "road trip" movies? Why are they useful for exploring relationships between characters?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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