Comedy More Vulgar than Funny
Release Date: February 03, 2017
Starring: Robert De Niro, Danny DeVito,
Leslie Mann, Cloris Leachman,
Harvey Keitel, Hannibal
Buress, Aly Mang, Billy
Crystal, Edie Falco, Charles
Grodin, Gilbert Gottfried,
Patti LuPone, Toshiko Onizawa,
Lois Smith, Jimmie Walker,
Brett Butler, Veronica Ferres,
Bobby Rydell, Olivia
Washington, John Lutz, Jim
Norton, Colleen Zenk
Runtime: 119 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics/Sony
Director: Taylor Hackford
Executive Producer: Scott Karol, Wayne Marc
Godfrey, Robert Jones, Iain
Abrahams, Fredy Bush, Dennis
Pelino, Mark Axelowitz,
Lawrence Smith, Peter Sobiloff
Producer: Taylor Hackford, Art Linson,
John Linson, Mark Canton,
Writer: Art Linson, Jeffrey Ross,
Richard LaGravenese, Lewis
Address Comments To:Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, Co-Presidents, Sony Pictures Classics (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833; Fax: (212) 833-8844
Web Page: www.sonyclassics.com; Email: Sony_Classics@spe.sony.com
At the homeless shelter, Jackie meets Harmony, a 30-something failed actress sentenced for assaulting her ex-boyfriend when she caught him cheating. Jackie overhears a heated phone conversation she has with said ex-boyfriend and offers her advice. They cautiously strike up a father-daughter style friendship, and it slowly evolves into something more romantic.
Harmony takes Jackie to a birthday dinner for her wealthy father as a gift. Her father is a huge fan of Jackie’s once popular show. Things quickly go sour when Harmony’s father repeatedly asks Jackie to perform in character. Jackie gets impatient and starts throwing insults across the table.
The next morning, Harmony tells Jackie she’s moving to Florida to work at a retirement village her father owns. Though he’s upset she’s given up on her New York dream of becoming a successful actress, he can’t stop her.
After meeting a series of dead ends himself in the revival of his comedy career, Jackie decides to visit Harmony in Florida and see what her new life is like. He ends up performing a parody song to amuse the residents at the retirement village, which goes viral online. This generates new interest from the entertainment industry, and before long Jackie’s inundated with offers. However, Harmony shares some news with him that puts a kink in his plans.
One thing THE COMEDIAN has going for it is a plethora of A-list Hollywood stars. For movie junkies, it’s a particular thrill to see so much talent working on the same project. De Niro’s star power was enough to involve them all. Sadly, this movie proves De Niro’s talent lies more in the genre of drama than comedy. He never quite sells himself as a comedian (a successful one anyway), and it’s only the movie’s more serious moments where he really seems to shine. The story itself is lackluster, and the characters surrounding Jackie don’t get much opportunity for development.
Ultimately, the main takeaway from THE COMEDIAN is the absolute vulgarity that runs throughout. It’s a challenge for this movie to go even 30 seconds without an obscenity of some kind. Crude sexual references are also common place. At the retirement home, Jackie leads everyone in a parody version of “Making Whoopee” with “Making Poopie.” Apparently, it’s funny to watch a bunch of old people singing about poop. It’s also supposedly hilarious to hear jokes about same-sex marriage, sexual abuse and sex in general – all paired with numerous “f” bombs and just about every other obscenity under the sun. Topics such as abortion, drugs, dysfunctional families, and extramarital sex outside of marriage are all thrown into the mix. THE COMEDIAN’s negative elements are mitigated slightly by some Christian references and a pro-life ending when a woman unexpectedly becomes pregnant.
One thing THE COMEDIAN has going for it is a plethora of A-list Hollywood stars. For movie junkies, it’s a joy to see so much talent working on the same project. However, that’s the only thing this movie really has going for it. Not only is the story lackluster, but the main takeaway is the absolute vulgarity throughout. It’s a challenge for this movie to go even 30 seconds without an obscenity of some kind. It’s all meant to come across as funny, but THE COMEDIAN achieves repulsion instead.