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Overall Rating
3.05

Awesome: 15.79%
Worth A Look36.84%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 31.58%
Total Crap: 15.79%

2 reviews, 7 user ratings


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Jiminy Glick in La La Wood
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by Peter Sobczynski

"20 minutes of genius surrounded by 70 minutes of garbage"
2 stars

When he is firing on all cylinders, as he was on Letterman a few nights ago or in the immortal “Jerry Lewis: Live at the Champs-Elysees” sketch that appears on the new “SCTV: Vol. 3" box set, Martin Short can be the wildest and funniest person in the world. Unfortunately, such moments are few and far between in his new film, “Jiminy Glick in La La Wood,” a mostly witless attempt to shoehorn his weirdo charms into a framework for which they are simply unsuited. And yet, just when you are about to give up completely on the proceedings, he throws in a bit that is so hilarious and unexpected that you are almost convinced that he will be able to keep it up and somehow save the rest of the film. He doesn’t, but it is a strange tribute to his talents that even though the film is mostly awful, there are moments here that are so funny that you almost forget how bad it really is.

For most of its running time, the film, which follows the title character, a clueless 400-lb quote whore from Butte, Montana (whom Short first introduced on an amusing quasi-talk show on cable), as he covers the Toronto International Film Festival (where a good portion of the film was shot during the 2003 edition) and stumbles upon a murder involving a has-been movie star (Elizabeth Perkins), her vicious Eurotrash boyfriend (John Michael Higgins) and her daughter (Linda Cardellini), is a graceless and witless attempt to transform a sketch character from the shorter environs of television to the big screen without ever coming up with anything to justify the added running time. The murder-mystery, for example, is ridiculously contrived and desperately unfunny–too bad that the screenplay, under the mistaken delusion that we actually care about it, keeps coming back to it. (The same goes for the ludicrous movie spoofs peppered throughout, including one goof on “Gandhi” that was done with more subtlety by Weird Al Yankovic in “UHF.”) Another problem is that while the character of Glick is a funny caricature of low-rent entertainment journalists (and having met more than a few of them, I can attest that the portrayal is spot-on), there isn’t much else to him that would compel anyone but the most devoted Short fans to follow him around for 90 minutes.<

On the other hand (and this is a big “other hand”), when the film is funny, it is really, really funny. The quasi-documentary scenes of Glick interacting with the actual festival surroundings and guests are so strong that you wonder why Short and company didn’t decide just to do it as a mockumentary and skip all the mystery nonsense. The interview scenes in which Short interrogates former co-stars Steve Martin and Kurt Russell (Glick kicks things off with the latter by discussing the similarities between Snake Plissken and Sammy Davis Jr.)are equally hilarious as well.

Best of all is Short’s dead-on impersonation of David Lynch, who inexplicably appears every once in a while in a creepy hotel bar (where Lynch fanatics should keep their eyes peeled at the in-joke decor) to narrate the proceedings. Like much of Short’s best work, this impression is so willfully obscure and perfectly realized that you watch it in awe that someone would have conceived of something so strange, let alone pulled it off so perfectly.

If “Jiminy Glick in La La Wood” had a little more of that kind of inspiration, it might have made it as a minor comedy classic. Instead, it comes off as 20 minutes of hilarity surrounded by 70 minutes of junk. As a theatrical experience, it isn’t even worth matinee prices but I can see myself possibly checking it out again on DVD sometime in the future–albeit with an attentive finger on the fast-forward button.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10445&reviewer=389
originally posted: 05/06/05 13:35:52
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/27/16 Anne I stopped watching it 1/2 way thru, wondered why I watched it that long.... 1 stars
12/04/06 jerry unbelievably funny at times 5 stars
2/07/06 tatum If you are a fan of the show... 4 stars
5/16/05 Chris Stephens The show sucked...why make a movie? 1 stars
5/13/05 s What a shitty movie with the worst character... so damn annoying... and i like short 1 stars
5/06/05 John Thomas Hysterical. 5 stars
9/21/04 perkins lovedit 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-May-2005 (R)
  DVD: 04-Oct-2005

UK
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