Recently I have been working in my office– repainting, rearranging, reorganizing (basically anything that starts with “re”). While most of the “big” projects have been completed, I ran into a brick wall today when I decided to sort through the boxes of files I have on hand– or should I say re-sort? (I can’t say resort or people will be confused, thinking that I am living it up on some beach in Mexico. This would result in an angry phone call from my mom, if she ever reads the blog, asking me why I didn’t tell her I was leaving the country. But I digress…). Essentially what this paragraph is trying to say is: I was busy filing today. Fun.
I wanted to watch something while I was working, thus killing the two proverbial birds with one stone. The day started with a few episodes of Bones, season 1 from my watch instantly queue—to be reviewed when I complete the season. Then I decided to watch a film so I could have something to write about in my blog. Browsing, I stumbled upon Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show, a film that has been in my queue since I saw several of the comedians perform at the Comedy Store a few years back.
“Perfect,” I thought as I pushed play, “I can file away while they tell their jokes. I won’t even have to watch the screen for most of it.” Now here, dear readers, here is where I went wrong. I came into this film with the preconceived notion that it would actually be a bunch of stand-up comedians performing their routine. I had naively envisioned a film full of rip-roaring laughter and perhaps a couple of fart jokes. I think I was misinformed.
What I actually got was a documentary about the tour itself. The film follows four comedians and Vince Vaughn as they perform in 30 cities. It is part road movie, part interview, and part stand-up. In a way, the film couldn’t quite decide what it wanted to be. I am undecided as to what I think about that—the hippie part of me loves the openness and the good vibes it sends out; the inner librarian part of me wants it to focus, exploring one aspect in depth (and SHHHHH!).
I have to admit, I almost turned off this film a few minutes in. It seemed like a weird Vince Vaughn showcase of his celebrity friends. Actually, I found the first third of the movie to be this way and leaning towards overindulgent. But I stuck to it. The editing on this film threw me off a bit at the beginning. There were brief “sound bites” from the comics, then a longer clip from “behind the scenes.” This was a bit frustrating as I really wanted to hear a whole set by a comedian.
Eventually, this film morphed into a fairly interesting documentary—providing snippets of the comics’ lives before stand-up, looking at how they dealt with life on the road, and hearing reactions from their families regarding their career choices. At this point, I actually enjoyed the cutting between the stand-up routines and the additional scenes. Learning about the performers’ backgrounds while watching their jokes was pretty cool and gave some of their performances deeper meaning.
The film also tried to provide a brief (sometimes extremely brief) look at the towns where they performed. While it had the feel of watching someone’s vacation video, it also helped establish a feel for life on the road, as well as a glimpse of the American countryside.
As a stand-up comedy show, this film would not make the grade. But as a documentary exploring the backstage world of the traveling performer, I would pass this film. However, the inner librarian would remind it to please limit its time on the computer to only 30 minutes when others are waiting (random, I know ).
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