- rated HOT! HOT!
HOT! (and I really mean it!).
I first saw this incredible film at a critic's screening, and at the
end I turned to the stranger next to me, and said: "I can't believe I
just saw that film!" We then spoke for quite a while about our
reactions to it: shock, embarrassment, laughter, hysterics, more shock,
more giggling, gasping in awe, and, finally, bewilderment. That
person will no longer be a stranger, because of what we shared.
I think this is a seriously good film – not technically, because there
it is a bit clunky. But necessarily so. You can't interview
100 or so of the world's top comedians (actually mostly Americans) and
get their spontaeous reaction on film, and produce a great-looking and
sounding film. But what the film makers have got is the sponteneity.
It really works in that sense.
The film breaks two rules of joke-telling: don't repeat a joke
and don't analyse it. It breaks these two rules, and it works
brilliantly. A O Scott, writing in The New York Times called it "a
work of painstaking and penetrating scholarship, and,as such, one of
the most original and rigorous pieces of criticism in
any medium I have encountered for quite some time".
Overstatement, perhaps, but there's some truth in what he says.
What I like about this film is that it starts off by tellig a dirty
(and for me bvery funny) joke, with a classic structure of inversion of
expectations. Then it riffs on that joke for nearly 90 minutes,
and the joke constantly renews itself. You have to go through
this process, which involves hearing some of the filthiest language
ever collected on film, and imagining the most disgusting scenes of
depravity and sordidness. But it is painfully funny at the same
time. I was shocked and appallled time and again, but the film
takes such an analytical approach (without being serious for a moment)
that you felt taken by the hand and told: "It's OK to laugh. It's
only words. It won't hurt you. It's OK to find it funny."
I am recommending that everyone see this film. Some people will
not thank me. Others will laugh their heads off. But it's a
And the best version of the joke? For me, Gilbert Gottlieb - but
what a piece of work is that Sarah Silverman!