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Amateur hour 

Under the “Basic Information” section of Johnny Luna’s Facebook page, I can only assume the San Antonio filmmaker is being facetious when he describes himself as a “comedian, locksmith, husband, father, musician, film maker [sic]” and then goes on to admit he “suck[s] at all of them.”

Now, I’ve never seen one of Luna’s stand-up performances nor have I watched him interact with his family. I’m unaware of what instruments he plays and have never once called him after locking my keys inside my vehicle. As far as I know, he’s George Carlin, Cliff Huxtable, Bob Dylan, and the most efficient man armed with a slim jim all rolled into one.

What I can objectively comment on, however, is Luna’s first feature film Amounting to Nothing, a comedy of mistaken identity, which is now on DVD after a short run through the festival circuit. As sarcastic as Luna is trying to be in his Facebook profile, he might be onto something with his self-criticism of his talent as a director and writer. Never mind the poor film, sound, and music editing, the blatant overacting, the mediocre camerawork (learn how to frame a shot, for Christ’s sake) and the indie’s overall amateur production value — it’s Luna’s abysmal script and confounding directorial choices that make Amounting to Nothing live up to its ironically unfortunate title. Most ironic of all: the movie won the Best Script in a Feature award at Houston’s UnderDogs Film Fest in August.

If lead actor James Ponce had been given even slightly humorous or creative material to work with, his character might’ve had more than just sparse appeal. Instead, Luna delivers a collection of nitwit skits revolving around jokes about rape and blowjobs, the obese and elderly, and racial slurs and stereotypes (jiggaboo, really?).

In one insufferably long, drawn-out gag, Ponce’s character is repeatedly sprayed in the face with pepper spray rendering him sightless. If only I could’ve been so lucky.

 

★ 1/2

Amounting to Nothing

Dir. and writ. Johnny Luna; feat. James Ponce, Carmen Ivette, Johnny Luna, Tommy Muñoz
$15 DVD
placetobproductions.com
underdogs.com

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