The Foot Fist Way

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
The Foot Fist Way Movie Poster Image
Martial arts "comedy" is crude, mean and unfunny.
  • R
  • 2008
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The characters are uniformly deluded, self-centered, and foolish -- no role models here. A Hollywood action star acts like a jerk in general, and even main character Fred is a bit of a bully and a blowhard. There's also a shattered marriage, including infidelity and mismatched training fights.


Fighting both within the setting of a martial arts studio and beyond it; scuffling, tussling, and "wrassling" characters are severely beaten or administer severe beatings; mismatched training bouts between adults and children -- as well as between fit adults and older adults -- are presented as comedic.


Constant sexual language (including "whore," "gang-rape," "hand job," and more); implied oral sex; two characters are seen having sex (while fully clothed).


Constant sexually suggestive language, including "whore," "hand job," "nuts," "butt-f--k," "gang rape," and "screwing." Also "f--k," "piss," "s--t," "nuts," "suck," "retard" (used as an insult), and more.


No brands (except a fictional fish restaurant) mentioned by name.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol is consumed extensively, frequently to excess.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while this low-budget indie comedy is being extensively promoted and pushed by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby), they aren't actually involved in it -- they're just fans. But, like many of the movies they have been involved with, there's extensive, coarse sexual content (implied oral sex, lots of sexual language); broad, slapstick-variety violence (here, mostly in the form of different kinds of fights and beatings); and plenty of swearing and drinking. What's more, main character Fred isn't very sympathetic; he's a bully and a blowhard and a bore, and his unearned arrogance and condescension are creepy, not comedic. The film also has a sneering tone that's hard to shake.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysmoothdome70 March 22, 2020
Adult Written byJoshua123 June 28, 2011

A sound message on authoritative abuse and what to look for as demonstrated by the main antagonists as the story has no protagonist

The violence isn't half as bad as many movies out there that many don't seem to have a problem with there kids seeing on a comparative level i.e. Lord... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byPeteDavidsonIsT... January 7, 2021

The reason for the 5 star

I gave it a 5 star because I felt bad lmao
There has to be at least one person to give it a five star, as the movie can be funny to certain viewers if the viewe... Continue reading

What's the story?

In small-town North Carolina, martial arts instructor Fred Simmons (Danny McBride of Hot Rod) runs a taekwondo studio. Fred used to be a contender, but he's fallen on hard times. Convinced that he needs to revitalize his failing business (and trying to reverse the failure of his marriage), he convinces old associate/action-film star Chuck "The Truck" Wallace (Ben Best) to come out for a few demonstrations to increase his business -- only to have arrogant, self-important Chuck ruin both the demos and Fred's marriage. Can Fred redeem his life?

Is it any good?

Shot on a shoestring, The Foot Fist Way is pretty much a one-man showcase for McBride's deadpan comedy style and capacity for portraying oblivious self-importance. The problem is that the movie is deeply unfunny. Viewers are expected to laugh at all these characters, not with them; everyone in the film is a moron, a thug, or a deluded, self-centered fool. Unlike, say, Napoleon Dynamite, a comedy in which foolish characters nonetheless earned some of our sympathy and affection, there's no one to root for in The Foot Fist Way, and that makes watching it more of a chore than anything else.

McBride has done far better work in films like Hot Rod and All the Real Girls, so some of the blame must go to the script, which was co-written by director Jody Hill, Best, and McBride; as Fred makes mistake after mistake and looks more and more like a cruel fool, we stop laughing and start squirming. The Foot Fist Way may deserve a few points for low-budget passion (it was shot in 19 days), but it's just so deeply unpleasant that it's hard to imagine anyone actually enjoying its smug, condescending, cruel kind of so-called comedy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why people want to see this movie -- is it because of the movie itself or because Will Ferrell says it's funny? Why is his opinion so influential? Families can also discuss the nature of teaching. Just because someone is in a position of authority, does that mean they deserve that authority or will exercise it wisely? Can you think of examples of good and bad teachers in movies?

Movie details

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