FUBAR is a 2002 mockumentary film, directed by Michael Dowse, based on the lives of two lifelong friends and head-bangers living out their lives, constantly drinking beer. FUBAR debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in the 'Park City at Midnight' category, which previously launched such films as The Blair Witch Project. Since its release, it has gained critical acclaim and a cult status in North America, but especially within Western Canada. It was both filmed and set in Alberta, particularly in and around Calgary.
It was filmed entirely with digital cinematography, on a shoestring budget that required many involved with the project to max out their credit cards in order to complete the movie (according to an interview on their official website). Many of the people featured in the movie (including the fist-fighters) were bystanders who thought that the filmmakers were shooting a documentary on the common man.
FUBAR features characters partly based on a comedy routine performed by David Lawrence and Paul Spence that they developed based on the head-banger subculture. David Lawrence, Paul Spence, and S.C. Lim also appear in Michael Dowse's movie, It's All Gone Pete Tong. (Dr. S.C. Lim plays himself in FUBAR as Dean's doctor. Lim actually is Michael Dowse's doctor.) The characters of Terry and Dean were later seen again, featured in the Michael Dowse-directed music video "The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism" by The New Pornographers.
This is the story of two lifelong friends, Terry (David Lawrence) and Dean (Paul Spence), who have grown up together: Shotgunning their first beers, forming their first garage band, and growing the great Canadian mullet known as "Hockey Hair". The lives of these Alberta everymen are brought to the big screen by documentarian Farrel Mitchner (Gordon Skilling), a young director who decides to take a look at Terry and Dean through a lens, exploring the depths of friendship, the fragility of life, growing up gracefully, and the art and science of drinking beer "like a man".
Their lives are complicated by a snubbing by their "party leader" Troy, better known as Tron (Andrew Sparacino). When Farrel discovers that Dean is hiding a serious case of testicular cancer, the wheels are set in motion for Dean to seek treatment from Dr. S.C. Lim (Dr. S.C. Lim). With Dean's last weekend before surgery approaching, Terry decides to take Dean, Farrel and the film crew camping. Things take an unexpected turn by the third day, and Terry and Dean must cope with further tragedy.
A sound track album FUBAR: The Album, was released in 2003.
It Brandon Ryan reported in April 2009 that funding had been secured for a sequel film. FUBAR 2 was filmed in Edmonton, Alberta. Director Michael Dowse reported that the plot involves Terry and Dean moving to Fort McMurray, Alberta. Once again the dialogue is heavily improvised, and the budget is "a lot more" than the first film. The sequel premiered at the 2010 Toronto Film festival on September 9, and was released throughout Canada on October 1.
On February 10, 2017 Rogers Media and VICE Studios Canada announced an eight-episode television series based on the films to air on Viceland later that year. The show will see Lawrence and Spencer reprise their roles with Dowse returning to direct.
FUBAR received generally mixed reviews, with a 55% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.