In this day and age, with the gap between genuine news and misinformation thinning daily, the idea of a movie that satirizes this phenomenon is a welcome one, whether for comic diversion or pointed warning about its potential implications.
A quick look at the synopsis of “Doobious Sources” would suggest that just such a notion exists at its heart, but that is not what first-time director/producer Clif Lord is up to. Rather, the film occupies a middle ground somewhere between Blair Witch Project‘s ragged “found footage” feel and a low-budget stoner comedy. Though competently made, it succeeds in neither making a statement nor obtaining laughs.
The movie follows the exploits of Zorn Tappadapo (Jason Weissbrod) and Reginald Block-Hunsleigh (Jeff Lorch) sensationalist journalists on their quest for an attention-getting story, as well as a constant supply of good weed. Turns out they are talented at both – best exemplified in one of the movie’s few good laughs, when they turn down an offer for a legitimate news job because it would take away their ability to be constantly stoned at work. Due to their invariably impaired (read: paranoid) state of mind, their hand-held cameras are constantly trained on each other as well as everyone they encounter.
Said legitimate news source teams them up with square newscaster Ky Kittridge (Creagen Dow), a weasly local reporter who, like the two partners and friends, has his own impure motivation lurking below the surface. Simultaneously pursuing Kittridge’s story about local political corruption, their own exposé on “straight men who aren’t,” and running from a local business owner (Joe Cortese, in the movie’s best performance) bent on revenge after being a mark in a previous story, they drive around in a motor home, light up, argue, light up some more, film their every waking minute for an alleged documentary that they tell everyone that they’re filming, then light up some more.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), it doesn’t obtain “so bad it’s good” status either – the acting is uniformly good (particularly Cortese), it adheres impressively to its lowbrow aesthetic, and the scenery – shot in and around downtown Los Angeles (including a lengthy scene at Taix) is a spirited tribute to LA iconography. Ultimately, while it succeeds at movie making – were I a film teacher, I would grade generously, as it’s a very competent work – it never gets out of neutral gear, either as entertainment or satire.