When your line of work is bedding, all of the serious money is in the mattresses. “Stuck at the bottom of the bedding food chain,” struggling futon salesman Francis Molon (Larry Dahlke) longs to get the chance to prove himself to his boss (Darrell Francis) but when the mini-mall store sales king Rick the sleaze (Chris Stack) puts his name in for an assistant managerial position, Fran knows he’ll never get the chance to move mattresses unless he takes a stand… or a run.
In writer/director Ron Beck’s three-time film festival award winning comedy (praised by John Landis), Fran follows in the sneakers of his father – a legend in local area marathon runs – by making a wager that if he wins the town’s mini-marathon then Rick will have to withdraw the application for the job or give up his dream of peddling mattresses forever.
With his best friend Dale (Jeff Stockberger) by his side to train him wherever the two can find from children’s playgrounds to a local athletic equipment store and one hundred and fifty dollar shoes on his feet, Fran fears his bad luck is here to stay after he literally blows a gasket. But when a radio contest and a date with the beautiful girl (Angie Craft) from the tanning salon falls in Fran’s favor, he realizes he’s on the right path to if not the finish line than at least starting to build up some confidence in his life as a futon pusher on a mission to make mom proud.
Although the thin premise guarantees that the film runs by briskly – clocking in at little over an hour – and a clever if tonally uneven spoof on Karate Kid never pays off later with either more spoofs or in the earnest plot – Ron Beck’s film nonetheless manages to put and keep a smile on your face for a majority of its running time.
Recently bowing onto DVD from Maverick Entertainment Group, The Mini, proves you can make an entertaining feature for the budget of a few futons as you kick off your running shoes to settle in with this bright, well-intentioned offering that’s sure to appeal to the same movie devotees that rallied around Napoleon Dynamite.
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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.