Metta World Peace, Marc Maron, And The "All Wifed Out" Experience

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We’re all savvy enough to know that, when we watch an NBA basketball game, what we’re really watching -- more so than a competition between two teams -- is a competition between ten brands. All these brands are earnestly striving to be memorable enough at playing basketball in order to one day be paid to do the much less strenuous job of selling you other products that have nothing to do with basketball.

Surely you have seen Blake Griffin deploying antically deadpan absurdity on behalf of the luxurious comforts of the Kia Optima? Do you remember seeing LeBron James living and laughing and loving with the help of his Samsung phone? Michael Jordan smirking scornfully through a drab and contextless office environment to make a point about the soft comfort of a Hanes undershirt? Yes, yes, and yes. Take heed and take notes, pupils: cross-branding at this elite level is the true pinnacle of contemporary sport.

A truly versatile person-brand will not just venture into other industries; it will also stake its claim within the realm of the arts. For example, even though he was cut in February by the New York Knicks, Metta World Peace’s IMDb page is expanding so rapidly that Metta no longer even needs to play basketball in order to further his basketball-related brand. This fall saw Metta -- who was previously making cameos opposite Nancy Grace on Lifetime and appearing as a vampire sexlord in a bargain-priced web series -- prominently advertised as the leading man in All Wifed Out, acting alongside the soul-craggly Podcast God and stand-up comedian Marc Maron. (Dustin Diamond, best known as Screech from "Saved By The Bell" and a sad-angry celebrity lamprey since then, also appears as himself, although this will be the last time it's mentioned.)

Anyway, for Metta World Peace, as an actor and an entertainment brand, this seemed a great leap forward. I ventured to my local theatre -- just kidding, to my local RedBox -- to check out Metta’s cinema game.

For someone renting the film with that in mind, it's tough not to notice in the opening minutes of All Wifed Out thatsomething is amiss. That is, despite the prominent placement of Metta and Maron on the movie’s poster, they are nowhere to be seen. Anywhere. Rather, we find ourselves following a day in the lives of, as the Rotten Tomatoes synopsis so elegantly puts it, “a mid-20’s guy and his two best friends.”

And so we have our protagonist, Guy #1, who is always having amazing sex with his girlfriend but is just totally conflicted on the inside because his girlfriend just wants him to move in already, which would really crimp his youthful, virile manhood and all that. Guy #1 is given opposing counsel by Guy #2 -- who looks like a contestant in a Redfoo Lookalike Contest who is constantly hitting it, quitting it, and otherwise loving his outrageous bachelor lifestyle -- and by Guy #3, who wears scarves and must approve outings later than 5:30pm with his totally lame-o fiancée. (For those counting: there are no wives in All Wifed Out.) They are all best friends and they all work at the company they co-founded, which has (lucratively, it seems) monetized products for use within the virtual world of Farmville.

Guys 1-through-3 probably were given names, although I never quite caught them. This is only sort of my fault, as All Wifed Out has a habit of introducing new characters in bewildering ways, punctuated with dialogue that wildly splinters in all directions, a style that can only be called Wiseau-ian. Here, for instance, is how we are introduced to the blonde temptress who will, eventually, attempt to lure Guy #1 into infidelity:  

[Guys # 1-3 are standing around their desks and chatting about Guy #1’s peculiar morning-time ejaculates.] [I’m sorry about this.]

[Female co-worker makes film debut by punching Guy #1 in balls.]

Guy #1: Hey! Take it easy, Becky.

Becky: You take it easy, Becky. [Becky exits, past photocopier]

Guy #1: Terrible comeback.

Guy #2: No! You said that, and then she just said the same thing.

Guy #1: She’s all right man. She does a good job, actually.

Guy #3: What does she do?

Guy #2: You guys used to bang in college, no?

Metta’s first moment on-screen is no saner than this. Guys 1, 2, and 3 have just embarked on The Best Night Ever, a legendary night of partying that will, in a way I couldn’t exactly figure out, better help Guy #1 make his decision re: the move-in. Immediately upon entering The Club, Guy #2 uses his hook-ups to get the trio into The VIP Section. Then:

[Guys # 1-3 raise their champagne glasses in the air for a toast. As their glasses clink, Guy #1’s glass unexpectedly flies across The VIP Section. It lands in the lap of Metta World Peace, who has been sitting on an oak throne.]

Metta World Peace [while throwing glass on ground]: Who the fuck threw a drink at Metta, yo?!

Metta is immediately calmed down by his psychiatrist, who, in violation of all orthodox doctor-patient confidentiality agreements, has not only gone out with Metta to The Club but also publically references their therapy sessions in a frantic attempt to prevent Metta from unleashing vintage Palace at Auburn Hills Behaviors on Guys #1-3.

Any breach of confidentiality is shortly forgotten, especially by Guy #2, who will immediately and relentlessly use all of the many dope pick-up moves in his arsenal on the (young, attractive, female) psychiatrist. The conflict is quickly diffused, and by the time Metta settles into a booth with our dudes, he is sympathetically commiserating with Guy #1 and his move-in predicament. Metta’s exact words: “So, settling down with Dana and getting some side poon-tang-tang is not an option?” (It should be noted that Dana herself is at that moment out dancing with another man, a man who is tweeting, mid-dance, and using the hashtags #grinding and #boner.)

As Guy #2 flirts up a storm with the former defensive stopper’s accompanying mental health professional, Metta leads Guy #1 and Guy #3 to The VVIP Section -- for the uninformed that is, yes, the Very Very Important Person Section -- which turns out to be a cloaked-out fight club where lots of cash changes hands, and Guys #1 and #3 find themselves in quite the pickle in no time. More importantly, though, Metta leaves the Guys at the door to The VVIP Section and is not seen again. For the entire movie.

(In the interest of disclosure: it is entirely possible that he popped up again for a second or two: shortly following Metta’s exit, which comes about a half-hour into the film, I had to hit fast-forward and scan the remaining hour of footage for appearances by Metta and/or Maron. The thought of actually watching the rest of the movie was more than I could bear in terms of body, mind, and spirit. If that makes me weak, then yes, I am weak. I hope Guy #1 found love, I guess.)

Maron’s appearances are just as brief. Even more unfortunately, he never acts in the same scene as Metta, which is a pairing that had Large Hadron Collider-grade potential for comic explosiveness. Maron has shaved his beard and donned his flannel in exchange for a suit in order to play Humorless Executive.

In his first scene, which occurs near the time of Becky’s testicle-jolting entrance, Humorless Executive is humorlessly nagging Guy #1 about the Farmville-manufacturing company’s recent lack of productivity, and not-so-subtly hinting that maybe things would get back on track if Guy #2 and all of his antics got fired. In Maron’s second scene, at the movie’s end, Guy #1 dramatically fires Humorless Executive in the middle of a meeting. It’s a heartwarming display of loyalty to Guy #2, and also an indication that the company’s organizational chart is entirely circular.

Maron’s two greatest contributions to the film, however, are: (1) His appearance in the extensive blooper reel, which is not accessible via the special features menu but is actually tacked on to the end of the movie itself, in which he repeatedly trips over the same line, setting off a flurry of f-bombs. The usual blooper-laughter from the other actors on set is, oddly, nowhere to be heard. Even casual followers of Maron will know that this is not actually a blooper but a moment of true existential rage caught on camera, his shame at being involved with the project all but tattooed on his forehead. There is also (2) his awesomely apathetic “promotion” of the movie on Twitter.

Maron is Maron, and long may he wave. But the magnetic force that draws us all to All Wifed Out was and is Metta World Peace. This piece of cinema is like a tender green bud that will one day, undoubtedly sooner rather than later, bloom into a dynamo crossover brand that will cause you, dear reader and patron of the arts, to open and re-open your wallet for years to come. Metta may no longer be in the NBA, but there’s no reason he can’t stay getting some multi-platform artistic side poon-tang-tang.

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