The Comedian (US – 2017)

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for Cinetalk.net

In Taylor Hackford’s (An officer and a Gentleman, Ray) new comedy-drama, The Comedian, Robert De Niro plays, opposite Danny DeVito, Harvey Keitel and Leslie Mann, a washed up actor trying to pull it together as a stand up comic while trying to deal with family issues, anger management and a sudden love interest.

Passed the curiosity of a first time screen match featuring De Niro and DeVito, The Comedian is not funny at all with its collected clichés, recycled jokes and corny drama. It is filled with inept dialogues where any entertainment value, creativity or intelligence are denied. Although De Niro did a great job as a would-be stand up for Martin Scorsese’s overlooked The King of Comedy (1983), he seems miscast in this one. A real stand up comedian could have at least improvised,  getting rid of some of the original dialogues in the process.

But the worst thing about The Comedian  is the pity we feel for Leslie Mann having to endure being the love interest of Grandpa De Niro. Ludicrous and a bit on the misogynistic side. De Niro may want to punch Donald Trump, but maybe he should look at himself in the mirror…  What you talkin’ to me?

The Comedian  highlights a major problem in theatrical distribution. Many films are dealt as a package. You want interesting films from the yearly catalogue, you have to take the waste. Here’s the waste. If these star actors need your money so bad to commit to this, they should be ashamed and give a refund to honest workers. By cheating patrons who trust them, artisans committing to productions like  The Comedian are partly responsible for so many people waiting for films to reach the internet instead of wasting their hard earn money on such pitiful ventures.

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