Humble Pie tells the story of Tracy Orbison, a lonely dude who’s just trying to make something of himself. He’s got a lot going against him though: he’s morbidly obese, still lives with his ball-busting mother, works a go-nowhere job at a second-rate grocery store, and doesn’t even have his drivers license. Despite all of this, Tracy dreams of one day becoming an actor, but his pursuit for fame and recognition only seems to cause more trouble for himself.
It all starts at a local play, where Tracy is mesmerized by the acting chops of Truman Hope (played by Billy Baldwin). Tracy starts taking an acting class and begins to gain some self confidence. He starts mentoring some mislead youth, and forms a bond with his new teacher and idol, Truman Hope. But he soon discovers that teenagers should never be trusted, actors are fucking assholes and, if you’re a sweet fat dude, people will walk all over you. What unfolds next is a series of bad decisions and worse consequences, all of which force Tracy to confront the dilemmas of being born into mediocrity.
Humble Pie is a lot like Eagle vs Shark or Napoleon Dynamite. It’s a story about a social misfit; an antihero. It’s even shot in a similar aesthetic: lots of washed out earthtones, unknown actors, and retro styles. But where Napoleon and Jarrod (of Eagle vs Shark) were annoying and over-exaggerated, Tracy is believable and totally likable. Thanks to some pretty brilliant acting by Hubbel Palmer, I was completely invested in Tracy. Also, it’s refreshing to see a fat guy get a lead role for once. I think the last time that happened was when Chris Farley was cast in Almost Heroes.
As for the rest of the acting, it’s all pretty terrific. Casting Billy Baldwin to play the cheesy, over-the-top actor was pure genius, and with Mary Lynn Rajskub playing Tracy’s sister, Peggy, it’s almost impossible not to like this movie. When all is said and done, Humble pie is a great movie with high replay value (I’ve watched it twice in three days). It’s no work of art, and it’s not going to leave you with a deeper understanding of your own existence, but it will most definitely entertain, and isn’t that what movies are supposed to do?
Admit it, you’ve seen Napoleon Dynamite (probably more than once) so there’s no reason for you not to see Humble Pie. It’s just sitting inside your computer, waiting for you.
I give Humble Pie: A passing grade.