Saturday, March 10, 2012

Looking For Ms. Locklear: Amusing and Endearing Road Trip

I am aware that Looking For Ms. Locklear is a film, not a book. However, as a huge Rhett and Link fan I want to spread the love.  It is my hope that some day Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Neal will indeed write a memoir chronicling their life-long friendship.  Until then, I must be satisfied with this delightful documentary.

I’m a sucker for road movies, especially Hope and Crosby wisecracking their way across (fill in exotic locale) with Lamour popping up somewhere along the way.  Nothing, I thought, could replace that talented duo in my heart.  

After viewing Rhett and Link’s Looking for Ms. Locklear I do believe that the Commercial Kings at least have nudged Bob and Bing over a bit and definitely set up a little place of their own in my cardio area.
Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal, if you don’t already know, are up and coming YouTube sensations, filmmakers, and hosts of The Commercial Kings on the Independent Film Channel.  Both former engineers, they began producing low budget yet exceedingly witty and quirky commercials for small businesses - their most famous being the Chuck Testa taxidermy ads which thrust Mr. Testa into internet memedom.

The premise behind the film, Looking For Ms Locklear, is a road trip back to their North Carolina roots to find their first grade teacher.  She is the reason that team Rhett and Link exists today.  Keeping the young Rhett and Link inside from recess for writing bad words on their desks, Miss Locklear unknowingly cemented a friendship between them that has lasted a lifetime. 

Desiring to track her down to thank her for bringing them together, Rhett and Link decide to travel the back roads of their childhood seeking out people who may help them find her.  Before starting out on their quest, they decide not to use any form of communication (internet or telephone) to locate her.  They would only interact face- to-face with people, filming their adventure along the way.

Looking For Ms. Locklear is an endearing tribute not only to a well-loved teacher, but to the people of Rhett and Link’s place of growing up.  The film is populated with real “characters” who, if handled with less loving hands, could have come off as targets of mockery – but with Rhett and Link we can only smile and wish we had them as neighbors.

Surprisingly, Looking for Ms. Locklear is more than just nostalgic whimsy.  As a serendipitous sideline, it brings to the fore the struggle of the Native American nation, the Lumbees, for Federal recognition as an Indian tribe with Rhett and link traveling to Washington DC to lend their moral support at a Senate hearing.

I can’t remember the last time I watched a personal documentary that wasn’t cynical and jaded.  Looking For Ms. Locklear is a delightful, uplifting movie that will make you feel good about humanity.  It is well worth a look.

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