NBT: Never Been Thawed
Directed by Sean Anders. Starring Sean Anders, Shelly Frasier, Allen Zwolle, Mike Gordon, John Morris, Charles Arnold. (2005, NR, 87 min.)
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Nov. 11, 2005
To the collectors in the Frozen Food Enthusiasts Club, NBT (never been thawed) is a term like "mint" to a baseball-card collector. Of course this Arizona club exists only for the purposes of this mockumentary (one hopes), but their depiction in this comedy holds many truths about the nature of collectors in general. They brag about their acquisitions and their tricked-out freezers, share rumors about new Swanson package redesigns and product lines, and speculate on the worth of Linda McCartney’s frozen food products now that she’s dead. It’s pretty amusing stuff, and the film moves at a decent enough clip to sustain viewer interest. Leading man Anders also directs from a script he co-wrote with producer Chuck LeVinus and co-star John Morris. You definitely get the feeling this group has been riffing off one another for a while, and that comfort is evident in the easy look of the film and the performances. However, the film starts to go astray when it wanders into the backstories of the individual club members. It’s not that the material isn’t amusing, it’s simply extraneous and makes the film feel like a skit stretched out to feature length. As it shoots comic spitballs into the air to see what sticks, NBT takes some too-broad potshots at Christians, homosexuals, deaf people, and promoters of sexual abstinence. This material is not as well-aimed as their knowing jabs at the collecting subculture. The hit-or-miss nature of the gags makes NBT too uneven to recommend, but it’s a great calling-card movie for guys who want to become professional comedy writers.