There is an art to crafting an unlikable character for your film. There are different facets of their existence in cinema and I do believe we’re over-saturated with the anti-protagonist. Especially if they are white men. Arrogant, lazy, or brutish, these characters flounce onto our screen and, somehow, we end up loving them with all our being. The key is to give a quality beyond their dickheaded nature: A sad background or mental illness is one example, a tragic story or loss is another, and just plain relishing in their malevolence is another. Loving to hate a lead character has become a staple diet of the film industry, but it needs to be done well to properly succeed.
For Chubby Funny, it’s hard to find a likability in this dislike-ability of lead character Oscar…
Written, directed, and starring Harry Mitchell, Chubby Funny revolves around a struggling actor who tries his best to make it in the industry . However, he is typecast by his agent and those around him as the titular descriptor – despite not being much of either. In the midst of his career dilemma, Oscar has to contend with working shitty door to door jobs, his housemate Charlie succeeding where he is failing, and an intrepid love life…
Mitchell’s work is impressive for an independent filmmaker. He dabbles in three elements of crafting this film to succeed in the best way it can: By making you loathe Oscar and his decisions yet somehow feel charmed by his struggle. It becomes clear that the down and out artists is weighted by his failures and his irate behaviour pushes everyone around him away, to the extent where he is isolated from his friends and a possible love interest. Your first response is to immediately hate this guy; his own churlish personality rubs you, up the wrong way, yet as you invest more in his day to day life, you realise that not only are you somewhat liking this character, you resonate with his story.
That’s because Chubby Funny, through humorous anecdotes and spectacular awkwardness (an ingredient of the British comedy that works heinously well because we are all uncomfortable sods,) conveys a journey most of us have been down: Discovering who we are, where we want to go, and how to get there. When all of those pieces are working at odds with one another, it’s hard to connect to your enthusiasm and as Oscar’s motivation is fritter away, it’s under
Harry Mitchell works this well through his direction, writing, and acting. Though there are contentious moments within the script, particularly his disdain at Charlie’s self-discovery with sexuality, and, true, you scream at the screen in frustration at Oscar, there is this allure to his distressed manner. Chubby Funny is exactly the type of morose yet droll independent films that champions new talent in a compelling way.
You may hate Oscar, but you’ll love his film.
Chubby Funny is on general release 30th June