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2 reviews, 2 user ratings

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by Katharine Leis

"A must see for anyone who has ever been fired"
4 stars

Fired follows the fate assisted tale of Annabelle Gurwitch. Recently fired from a play by Woody Allen, Gurwitch shares her tale of woe with many of those she knows, and in turn hears their stories of being fired as well. Soon, she discovers that after the initial shock and trauma of being fired, stories of the events can be quite funny.

The running themes of Fired are that “every cloud has a silver lining” and, “if not for this terrible event, all this good/learning would not have happened.”

Gurwitch obviously put a ton of effort into compiling her material, and at times it seems she’s searching for more to fill time. Had this been a half hour show, there definitely would have been stories missed and a desire by the viewer to see much more. As a feature though, it seems a mix of many things and at times stretches the attention span.

The scene with Ben Stein for example is intelligent and makes some great points, but it grinds the pace of the film to a halt. It is also seemingly out of place for a film that included a hilarious re-enactment of a Tate Donavan firing experience that used only puppets. Not that all must be hilarious…for example the tale of Walter Schieb, former White House chef, provided probably the most serious and meaningful commentary about the experience of being fired but kept pace with the rest of the film.

She visits her Rabbi, a grief counselor, gets a booth at a career fair, meets up with Andy Dick and has him operate a sandwich truck, talks with Jeff Garland and his wife in his home (providing an excellent magician story), includes clips from her stage show which is basically one act plays of people and their stories of being fired, and the list goes on.

Without the few scenes that slowed the pace and cutting off others that ran a little long, this film probably would have been a tight and powerful 50 minutes. It is also evident that Gurwitch knows many of the people she is interviewing, which is great for including them in her film, but is maybe also the reason she may be more interested in the minutiae of their stories than the general public.

Gurwitch is obviously a very intelligent woman with an incredibly inquisitive mind. She has a lot of patience and attention to detail. Those who would enjoy this film the most would be equally inquisitive and intelligent individuals. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people, myself included, are not seeking thesis level material for their entertainment dollar…they are seeking entertainment. The clips of the stage show lend to the idea that it is high in entertainment value. Her comedic timing and improvisational skills are far above average, yet she does not include as much of herself in the film as one would think. One scene in a career class is evidence of her talent, and it’s a shame more like it was not included in the end product.

With a wealth of talent, acting experience, and connections in the movie business, I hope that this is only the first of many documentary films for Gurwitch. She brings a positive and unique voice to the subject of being fired…not an easy task. Her ability to research and see so many sides and facets to the topic demonstrate that she seeks the truth in its entirety, not just filming proof of some pre-existing theory she may have had. That in itself is commendable, and strays from the unfortunate norm that exists in many modern documentaries.

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originally posted: 03/16/06 23:02:30
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2006 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival For more in the 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/22/06 margotkidding An engaging, loosely knit film that isn't quite a doc. Likeable mainly for its tour guide. 4 stars
3/17/06 Rebecca Not good as I was expecting and it felt a little unfinished, but it's still worth seeing 4 stars
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  DVD: 05-Jun-2007



[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Chris Bradley
  Kyle Labrache

Written by

  Annabelle Gurwitch

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