Mascots: A Dullardly Droll Documentary
Have you ever had that moment at a convention? You know, that moment? You’re walking around, minding your own business when a random attendee walks up to you. They start chatting it up well enough, but several minutes later you realize that their story isn’t all that interesting. You’re bored and listening to an uninteresting person drivel on about their life story that you never asked for.
That experience is basically a summary of what you are in for with Netflix’s mockumentary Mascots. Scores of minutes wasted on backstories of uninteresting characters, going to an only slightly interesting competition, told in the most uninteresting way imaginable.
While some confuse fursuiting with mascotting, as some reviewers for this film have they are two completely different things. One fur on my twitter feed had requested if this was any good. To them I can say, no, no it is not.
The movie starts with having interview style interactions with the characters to introduce their backstories and the mascot characters they play. They’re all quite awkward of course, and I guess that’s the punchline, I guess? Maybe my time in the fandom has made me numb to socially awkward individuals, and what’s why I’m not hip enough to get it.
It starts with a draining expositional dump where instead of seeing the characters doing cool mascoting things, they mostly talk about it and maybe do a very simple pose or wave, and so on. It certainly takes all the air out of any enthusiasm that anyone could hope to get from the interaction. Which is quite sad, given that the entire job of a mascot is to get people pumped up.
Even more depressing character development comes in the form of one mascot called “the Fist”. Someone who literally dresses up as a human hand that is balled up, in which you hope they never run into a mascot called “the paper”. He has an unbridled temperament which influenced his decision. The sadness is that in his backstory we learn was apparently a kangaroo mascot first before changing to a hand. Dang it, way to pull the rug out from under me there movie, I almost gave a darn.
The only two characters that gave me any sort of positive impact were the donkey and moose mascots that were the judges. Mostly because the dynamic between them is actually humorous instead of depressing. Also, they followed the rule of “show and don’t tell” when introducing them. Instead of a documentary exposition dump about their lives, the first we see of them is checking into the hotel. The donkey tries to get a coveted “John Wayne” suite, but fails to do so. The moose lady just walks up and takes it, as it was reserved for her. Just from this we get the entire dynamic between these two characters without going into their history. The male donkey mascot seen as the one always overcompensating and overvaluing himself, yet always finds himself in the shadow of the moose whose talents just follow her naturally.
If more characters were handled like these two the film would have been more tolerable.
The show goes begrudgingly on…
After a long draw up of boring drivel and backstory, the contest that was built up is finally here. And, it’s mostly disappointing. There is only one performance that really was impressive, and spoiler alert, that one performance won. Who would have guessed? Not really a spoiler, you could see it coming from a mile off as it seems to be the only one that had effort in the whole lot. Which makes the fact that this is a world renowned competition of the best mascots less believable. Most fursuit dance competitions, even at the smaller conventions, have a greater talent pool then these world greatest mascots provide their audience.
Which makes the fact that there are two jokes at the expense of furries kind of humorous, because to be honest, we’re far less weird than the individuals presented on this mockumentary. Oh we’re weird no doubt. But they did overplay the trope, with really outdated jokes about the whole sex-crazed angle that died in the mid-2000s. You know, like apparently some other reviewers had noted that this director’s mockumentary style also shows its age. Which as for someone who isn’t a movie buff, and this being my first experience with their work, it’s hard pressed for me to believe that the director had actual funny documentary projects.
I guess I will just have to take those reviewer’s words for it, as I have not interest. I mean, how do you screw up the jokes at furries expense? That’s a tall order to mess that up.
So the long of the short is, don’t waste your time with this one. You could spend a better afternoon watching paint dry. Or buy a ticket to your local sporting event and watch an actual mascot do actual mascotting. Both would be preferable to this snoozefest.