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The Aristocrats

DVD Three Stars

I missed this film at last years Edinburgh Film Festival, and at the time I thought it was a big loss. The idea of all these famous comedy artists telling what is perhaps the world's funniest joke was not only interesting, but in such a serious time, a necessity. This film promised a lot of laughter and that's just what I was after.

Sad thing was though, missing it for another screening was probably the best thing at the time as it's not all it's cracked up to be.

TheAristocrats.jpg

Movie


The first surprise was that this wasn't all comedy, it was a careful look at how a joke works and how comedians create jokes. It looks at all aspects of the how and why a joke makes you laugh and throughout there are moments where the joke is retold.

I had thought that the structure of the film would be quite simple, lots of talk about comedians, the joke, other jokes, always building up to the final telling of it. However the actual structure is somewhat different and I was confused when I heard the entire joke very early on. What is there left now I thought, well, little did I realise that there was so much in a single joke, particularly one that is improvised. So you area treated to a number of retellings of the joke by different comedians in different styles, some hilarious, and some just plain funny.

I have to say one of my personal favourites was Kevin Pollack, who I really love to see act and never realised he was a stand up comedian, or that he does the best Christopher Walken impersonation in the entire living universe. When he tells the joke Walken style, I swear something almost gave while I was laughing.

There is a fair mix of comedians, most of whom I've never seen, some of who aren't that funny, and some who are hilarious, and there are many recognisable faces in there, however none of this really matters, what does is that the film is very funny.

You may have already seen this in the cinema, but something happens when you turn on the audio commentary on the DVD, it becomes intelligent and insightful.


Picture


Presented: 1.85:1 Anamorphic
There's not much to the picture here, with handheld digital cameras that, and Penn admits to as much, are sometimes terribly handled, the picture can be quite rough at times. Who cares though, it isn't the picture you're after.


Audio


Presented: Dolby Digital 2.0
A simple audio track on this film, enough to hear the comedians and that's that.


Extras


Presented: Behind The Greenroom Door, More From The Comedians, Aristocrats Competition Winners, For Johnny Carson, Theatrical Trailer, Aristocrats Do The Aristocrats, Easter Egg
I'm not going to go through all these individually, suffice to say that there's plenty of performances of the joke that were removed from the film, personally I wish we could watch every single performance, but there might have been space and time issues with that.

There's also a nice little feature where non-professional comedians tell the joke to passers-by on film, these people were mad enough to record it and send it in to the filmmakers, and you can see them attempt it on the DVD.

The Audio Commentary is superb, and just as funny as the film itself, and yet it brings something extra to the viewing. The filmmakers provide many social, political and historical comments, and although that may sound boring, it isn't. These guys are very interesting to listen to, and they really know their stuff.

"He does look like he combed his hair with a cock" - Penn

A couple of the extras and additional performances do go on a little too long, and you find yourself thinking about skipping a couple, but don't because a laugh might be just around the corner.


Overall


I really enjoyed this movie, and it gave me some big belly laughs too, something I haven't had from a film in a long time. However watch yourself, it is a very rude film, no nudity or violence, just very rude comedy, and at times it's hilarious. Sometimes it's not so hilarious though, and there are some moments that let the film down, overall though worth watching once, and the extras are worth a viewing.


LOVEFiLM
IMDB Film details





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Comments

I ordered this back in January on DVD from the States and finally got around to watching it last week and I must say I was very underwhelmed. I was expecting so much more!

I got a couple of laughs from it, but nothing more. It was insightful to see the various approaches to the joke and what-have-you, but this seems more geared towards budding stand-up comedians - not people who just want to have a great laugh.

Kevin Pollack is a great Walken impersonator as you can see here when he appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien a few weeks ago.

My other personal favourites were the guy who told the joke using a deck of cards, and Bob Saget. He was the father on Full House, he should NOT be talking like that!

Them 3 aside, I'd say this was a big disappointment. If anyone wants to purchase the DVD from me, drop me a line. It's in mint condition and only been watched once. Takers? ;o)

Crap man, I was gonna borrow that from you!

That blows. Is it really that bad? Maybe I'm just believing hype. This really does sound kind of average potty humour now from what I'm hearing.

That was just my perspective of it, don't let my opinion taint your own view. You're more than welcome to borrow it and draw up your own conclusions.

So to be fair Spidey is right, the ride is up and down and there are flat deliveries...However the DVD package as a whole is a good one, and I feel the audio commentary adds tons to it.

Interesting, I would say this is a renter not a buyer. Perhaps I should add that to reviews of DVD's?

I too was underwhelmed when I rented this DVD. The hype was so big here in the states, so when the fiance and I sat down to watch it we found ourselves only chuckling half the time.

Despite the lack of overall laughter it really is an interesting documenatry on the telling of this one joke. I would recommend a viewing, but as Richard said "...this is a renter not a buyer."

That would be a nice measuring stick...

Buy>Rent>Don't

Right, I'll start adding that to DVD reviews...I'll have to go find a nice little icon...

... look at him go!

He just doesn't stop does he?!

lol

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