by Jordan Garren

[Review highlights below]

…There is a lot of experimentation in the indie film world. Independent film makers like Lee Godden are busy trying to make something different, original, and highly entertaining. And speaking of Lee, he is the man responsible for "They Made That Up!" an interesting hour-and-a-half of improv sketch comedy. Lee created, directed, produced, edited, and starred in this film, and his labors have yielded an offbeat, funny movie.

Lee and his crew of six improvisational actors filmed over a hundred or so sketches, but in the end, only twenty-nine of them made it to the final cut of "They Made That Up!" Some are extremely laugh out loud funny. My favorite is definitely "Try the Baby Seal Burger," which mocks all those boring cooking shows that plague cable television.

Mr. Godden and company poke fun at everything and anything. No topic is too taboo. “Marketing al-Qaeda,” for example, involves an interview with a gay Methodist marketing expert who was hired to improve al-Qaeda’s public image.

The film’s squad of thespians also tackles stuff that hits closer to home, such as the long waits we all experience at the DMV (“DMV Clerk Training”), people that take forever at ATM machines (“What’s my PIN?”), and rude employees at grocery store checkout lines (“Loneliness on Aisle 3”). And these guys and gals also made sure to cover more important topics of debate as well, including sex (“Liver Surgery and Love”), big business (“50% Fewer Fingers Lost”), politics (“Oil Rig Chant”), the media (“Live From the Carnage”), and religion (“Pinch-Hitting for the Priest”).

But all of that thematic diversity would have been rendered moot had the film not had such a talented cast. Along with the hilarious Lee Godden (he really is a funny guy), there’s Dan and Lori Jablons (Dan strikes me as Harold Ramis sort), Elvis Winterbottom who consistently portrays a sad, quiet, and/or pathetic guy, the usually manic Bret Calvert, the very beautiful (and underutilized) Eve Savona, and finally Jeff Kline, a master at wielding dry humor and keeping a straight face during his co-stars’ antics. This dream team is what makes this movie worth watching, and I really can’t commend them enough on how well they interacted with one another. Color me impressed!

When going through the DVD’s special features, I found the five deleted scenes from the film and was shocked that they didn’t make the final cut. I truthfully thought that they were great. (“Hot Sauce in Eyeballs” was genius!) The disc also has a nifty music video, and an extra skit called “Soup or Salad” that was just hilarious. (“No, I want the Super Salad!”).

I truly enjoyed this movie!