Off The Lip

A pretty documentary filmmaker vanishes while investigating a local legend, but commercial director Robert Mikelson's faux-documentary first feature is no BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999). The film opens with computer geek Dave (Adam Scott) examining a journal abandoned by Katherine "Kat" Shutte (Marguerite Moreau), who disappeared while roaming Hawaii in search...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A pretty documentary filmmaker vanishes while investigating a local legend, but commercial director Robert Mikelson's faux-documentary first feature is no BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999). The film opens with computer geek Dave (Adam Scott) examining a journal abandoned by Katherine "Kat" Shutte (Marguerite Moreau), who disappeared while roaming Hawaii in search of an elusive surf legend known only as "The Monk." Flashback to some months earlier, as freshly minted journalism-school grad Kat, aching to prove herself to her overprotective dad (David Rasche) and pretentious boyfriend, Brad (Mackenzie Astin), finagles a job at flashy online surfing magazine "Off the Lip." (The term refers to the face of a large wave that's just started to curl at the top.) Editor Rick (Peter Mackenzie) dispatches Kat to Hawaii, where goofy local cameraman Lenser (comedian Mark Fite) is supposed to help her track down the Monk for an exclusive interview. Brad invites himself along on the pretext that he's making his own documentary about Kat, financed by her well-to-do dentist dad. Everyone has a story about the Monk, but none of the clues Kat and co. pick up leads anywhere useful. Their quest leads to a loon (Dave Allen) whose beachfront property is strewn with WWII-era landmines; a belligerent bum with old footage of the Monk; and a spiritualist (Puanani Mahoe) who sees the Monk in her dreams. (In a running gag lifted from SPINAL TAP (1984), they lose three different soundmen in freak accidents.) Marguerite dodges phone calls from her father, breaks up with Brad and files reports with Dave, who's clearly falling in love with her. Kat also ignores clear signs that "Off the Lip" is in dire financial straits and finds herself in a real pickle after Rick takes a powder, sticking her with a sizable hotel bill and $150,000 in charges on an American Express account he fraudulently opened in her name. But she's become obsessed with her search for the Monk, and resolves to find him no matter what the cost. Produced in the wake of BLAIR WITCH PROJECT's success, this amateurish picture was built around surfing footage that Mickelson shot for a Compaq computer ad and developed with an eye for accommodating a series of lush tropical locations: It's no wonder the plot and characters feel like afterthoughts.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A pretty documentary filmmaker vanishes while investigating a local legend, but commercial director Robert Mikelson's faux-documentary first feature is no BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999). The film opens with computer geek Dave (Adam Scott) examining a journal a… (more)

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