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Overall Rating
4.15

Awesome47.87%
Worth A Look: 32.98%
Average: 8.51%
Pretty Bad: 7.45%
Total Crap: 3.19%

11 reviews, 28 user ratings


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Aristocrats, The
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by William Goss

"Punchline Drunk Love"
5 stars

The set-up is simple: a man walks into a talent agent's office, plugging his family act. The agent asks what the act consists of. After he describes the contents of the act, the agent asks, "What do you guys call yourselves?" The man responds, "The Aristocrats."

That's it. That is the most elaborate and infamous joke in the world of comedy, one that has lived on since the days of vaudeville behind the scenes, never to be performed in front of an audience.

While the joke may seem pretty weak, it all depends on who's telling it. The film's creators, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller), gather today's finest comedians to dissect the joke and its legacy, while offering more than a few of their versions of it, and as a result, The Aristocrats is one of the filthiest and funniest films in years. The reason the film stays fresh is because it doesn't run the joke into the ground (which would be quite the accomplishment with one this malleable). The comedians also delve into the dynamics of the joke, as well as the modern world of comedy: whose toes to step on, which boundaries change, and how each performer makes the joke their own.

The cast is a veritable who's who of great comedians. From Phyllis Diller and George Carlin to Doug Stanhope and Sarah Silverman, the roster is too long to list here and is likely to impress any viewer. While it's hard to pick highlights in a film so suffocatingly hilarious, the most memorable segments include a silent-but-deadly incarnation by a mime, Kevin Pollak's imitation of Christopher Walken telling the joke, the editorial staff of The Onion's battle to improve their take, and the dark side of Bob Saget.

A fraction of the audience walked out during this screening, which seems to mirror the overall reaction to the film. This film is not for those with delicate tastes. It is foul-mouthed, disgusting, vile, obscene, and so many kinds of wrong. This will probably limit its theatrical appeal, but this movie is destined to explode once it's on video.

'The Aristocrats' is an excellent documentary that manages to drop jaws and open eyes at the same time, providing an in-depth, side-splitting look into the realm of the punchline.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11199&reviewer=409
originally posted: 10/25/05 15:04:18
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. For more in the 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Deep Focus Film Fest For more in the 2005 Deep Focus Film Fest series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/19/11 Magic A great dissection on what makes a joke funny. Even if it's as crude as the Aristocrats. 4 stars
7/02/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess You know your a sick fuck when child-rape puts you in stitches 5 stars
8/24/06 AnnieG Not for the faint-of-heart (and avoid eating while you watch), but an amazing film. 4 stars
5/15/06 Jen Awesome. A great movie. 5 stars
4/17/06 Michael Garbage All The Way. Very Disappointing 1 stars
4/16/06 millersxing A crash course in scatological humor; come armed with a funny bone. 5 stars
3/04/06 Indrid Cold Original and good for a laugh or three. Don't watch with grandparents or children! 4 stars
3/02/06 Phil M. Aficionado Amusing and outside the box;wears out its welcome by the end;be in a mood to be grossed out 3 stars
2/08/06 bitch fuck you janet fucking prude bitch 5 stars
12/17/05 Marty Hilarious, smart and fearless. A new form of documentary. 5 stars
11/30/05 joey squids it was great...sarah silverman just jumped out of my ass! 5 stars
10/11/05 the untrained eye Not as funny as those who've seen it would like those who haven't believe 3 stars
9/14/05 Marty Funniest, smartes movie I've seen in ages. 5 stars
9/12/05 janet nave This film was so offensive and stupid that I left--UGH 1 stars
9/11/05 ajay it got a little slow at times, but there were tons of laughs. 4 stars
9/07/05 guy funny if you're still 13 2 stars
9/06/05 Martin Totaly disgusting and vulgar piece of crap 1 stars
8/30/05 Ayatolla of Rockinrolla The funniest movie I've seen in a while. Cartman RULES 5 stars
8/29/05 bullit16 Production values are lacking, but it's wet-your-pants funny 4 stars
8/23/05 bizenya great if you're interested in comedy as an art form. 4 stars
8/21/05 walter it's just hilarious and brilliant. period. 5 stars
4/16/05 Simon This is GENIUS. Funny as hell and even smarter than that. 5 stars
2/21/05 fiona just lovely... 5 stars
2/17/05 Jen SO GREAT. Awesome job by Provenza & Emery. 5 stars
2/02/05 Tammera Mack great movie 5 stars
2/01/05 Gladys Paradowski This is hilarious. Such a contrast to today's special effects monstrosities. 5 stars
2/01/05 Emery Emery I'm Biased. I edited the thing. 5 stars
1/30/05 Casey Tells good 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  29-Jul-2005 (NR)
  DVD: 24-Jan-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  26-Jan-2006




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