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Comedian (R)
Miramax
Official Site
Director: Christian Charles
Producer: Gary Streiner
Cast: Jerry Seinfeld

Rating: out of 5


“Why don’t you just TELL me the name of the movie you want to see?”

A disclaimer. I am a “Seinfeld” junkie. Clearly, this review will be riddled with shameless quotes from what I feel is one of the best sitcoms ever (along with “The Cosby Show” and “I Love Lucy”). Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Filmed with a digital camera over the course of 18 months, from 1999 to 2001, this innovative documentary follows Jerry Seinfeld as he takes to the road, testing new material on marriage, the end of his stellar TV show, fatherhood, and more. It’s not a concert film; most of the footage is taken behind the scenes, tracing the fascinating creative process, and—unlike his top-rated series—painting Seinfeld as a man with real feelings, doubts, insecurities, and joys. Get out!

Comedian is the funniest damn documentary since Hands on a Hardbody. And you get a backstage view of not only Jerry, but also Colin Quinn, Kevin Nealon, Jay Leno, and Chris Rock, to name a few. The film also traces the rise of a young Jewish stand-up comedian named Orny Adams. Yeah, that’s right. Orny is an ornery guy—never satisfied with his successes or his failures. He is funny though and his story is nearly as captivating as Jerry’s. A festivus for the rest of us! Both comedians’ appearances on “The Late Show with David Letterman” are chronicled from their points of view, complete with pre-show jitters and post-set self-criticism.

Set to a sometimes laid-back, sometimes jazzy soundtrack coupled with comforting crowd murmurs and glass clinking of New York City’s hippest comedy clubs, Comedian will keep you laughing—and thinking—from start to finish. It seems comedy is a metaphor for life, wouldn’t you know it? But the best part is, the film doesn’t try to be something it’s not.

It plays like a manual on how to be a comedian, if you’re into that. At the same time, it entertains and endears us to Jerry Seinfeld, a mega-superstar who criticizes himself for making the “rookie mistake” of opening with new material. Rated R for language, it gives us the rare chance to hear Bill Cosby say “shit.” See it, you won’t be disappointed.

That’s it for me. Goodnight!

—Michelle Fajkus

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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