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Thursday, September 22, 2016

'Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?' Theatrical: Harper Valley NRA

The Vault and filmmaker Matt Cooper achieve the tough objective of making a quality independent film with mass appeal with the comedy "Is That a Gun in Your Pocket?" "Gun" is playing in New York City and is opening at Laemmie's Music Hall in Los Angeles on September 23, 2016 ahead of your local multiplex showing it.

The opening scenes of "Gun" establish Rockford, Texas as a comically exaggerated gun-loving small Lone Star State town. This extends to the old-school movie theater hosting a gun-oriented film festival that includes the farce "The Naked Gun." One spoiler is that you likely will become a Rockfordphile (it had to be said) before the final credits roll.

The stereotypes continues with the (mostly) typical ruralish men spending their free time engaging in guy talk under the guise of hunting trips and their wives using a book club primarily as a cover (pun intended) to discuss sex. Cloris Leachman steals the latter scenes in the persona of the outrageous old woman that she has played since portraying Eastern European grandma from Hell Ida on the 2000s Foxcom "Malcolm in the Middle." Leachman's Maxine is an outspoken lustful woman in her '80s whose sexual activity includes utilizing grandma's little helper. 

The wake-up call regarding the danger of guns comes when hilarious mayhem ensues on adorable everykid Lance bringing his father's gun to school. An important aspect of this important development is that this occurs despite Lance's parents Jenna and Glenn arguably exceeding the recommended precautions regarding keeping offspring away from guns.

Andrea Anders, who has a long history of playing the good girl in sitcoms such as "Joey" and "Better off Ted," plays Jenna. This relatively wholesome mom decides that withholding sex until Glenn agrees to give up his guns triggers (of course, pun intended) what can be considered a town-wide "Pussy for Pistols" Program.

The setting and the family-friendly racy elements of "Gun" evoke thoughts of the Barbara Eden '70s crusading comedy "Harper Valley, PTA" and the television series based on that film; the added aspects of the war of the sexes make one think of the Arkansas-set '90s Burt Reynolds CBS Monday night comedy "Evening Shade" 

The ensuing escapades include a sleazy representative of the National Gun Owners' Association stepping in with a plan to help the men take the edge off and the women using natural and pharmaceutical resources to get their men to cave in.

Greater depth exists in the form of the central conflict prompting Jenna and Glenn to revisit the issue of the large sacrifice associated with the former becoming a soccer mom, the various costs of sticking to your guns (of course, pun intended), and the nearly century-old question of the extent to which a teen girl should put out to please her steady fella.

On a larger level, "Gun" is the rare 2016 movie that keeps sexual content to a bare (no pun intended) minimum and relies on real people and (mostly) realistic situations for genuine laughs. Guns are dangerous even when precautions are taken, and sex is a valued commodity. Additionally, pride keeps all of us from giving in at times that doing so is the better course of action.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Gun" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via