"The Foot Fist Way," a new comedy made for pennies by a bunch of pals from the North Carolina School of the Arts, is not a particularly good movie. Many of the actors can't act. Whole scenes fall flat. And you'll find more sophisticated camerawork on YouTube. But you should see the movie anyway, because what it does have is Danny McBride, the most hilarious man you've never heard of, heir to Will Ferrell's throne as king of the idiots. Last year McBride was the funniest thing in two deeply unfunny star vehicles for Andy Samberg ("Hot Rod") and Ben Stiller ("The Heartbreak Kid"). "The Foot Fist Way" is something of a first: a star vehicle for a guy who's not even close to a star.
McBride plays Fred Simmons, a strip-mall tae kwon do instructor who bullies his 6-year-old students ("Your weakness disgusts me") out of the delusion that he's preparing them for a world in which a man is defined by how many planks of wood he can break with his palm. To Simmons, life is just one long version of the tournament scene in "The Karate Kid," only in his version, the jackhole sensei from the Cobra Kai dojo is the hero, not Daniel-san. McBride is blessed with a face that oozes dumb. His eyes are always at half-mast, and that black scrapple of fuzz on his lip is not, to put it mildly, a thinking man's mustache. But that's why his whipsaw comic timing always catches you flat-footed. When it comes to stupidity, McBride is a borderline genius.