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Punching the Clown Reviews

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Mike Hale
New York Times
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[If it] isn't entirely successful, it's partly because the music -- late-night satire swathed in gentle folkie chords -- and Mr. Phillips's modest but knowing manner don't quite match up with the "Star Is Born" clichés of the plot.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 2.5/5

October 22, 2010
Ethan Alter
NYC Film Critic

The fickleness and absurdity of life in L.A.'s entertainment industry has been skewered more effectively in a number of other movies.

Full Review Source: NYC Film Critic | Original Score: 2/4

October 20, 2010
Eric Hynes
Time Out New York
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A surprisingly warm variation on an often venal tale, Henry Phillips's pseudo-autobiography affectionately reflects, rather than coldly lampoons, the life of a stand-up.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 3/5

October 20, 2010
Chuck Bowen
Slant Magazine

Punching the Clown can be too cute, but it's a quietly sad portrait of just barely getting by.

Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 2.5/4

October 24, 2010
Aaron Hillis
Village Voice
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A partly biographical, drolly fabricated comedy.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

October 21, 2010
Robert Levin

The film is an amiable, self-mocking satire about L.A.'s vacuous showbiz types.

Full Review Source: amNewYork | Original Score: 3/4

October 21, 2010
Richard Brody
New Yorker
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The comic folksinger Henry Phillips stars in this wry, poignant, smartly satirical comedy as himself, and puts himself into uneasy situations in which he doesn't always come out as the hero.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

November 8, 2010
Prairie Miller

Boasting a fabulously flamboyant script by co-conspirator serial loon Phillips and director Viens and salacious serenading rudely dissing the FCC's naughty word police, this is no-budget hardcore standup comic cinema at its most irreverently outrageous.

Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

October 16, 2010
Kyle Smith
New York Post
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Punching the Clown is welcome proof that there remains at least one industry in which the US can compete with New Zealand: the parody folk-song business.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 3/4

October 22, 2010
Michelle Orange

The result is a shaggy rise-and-fall story that is deceptively well-wrought, playing at times like an extremely hip, deep-access concert film.

Full Review Source: Movieline

October 22, 2010
Louis Proyect

In the spirit of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Flight of the Conchords" but much funnier.

Full Review Source:

October 21, 2010
Frank Lovece
Film Journal International

A quiet jewel of smart, unexpected old vaudevillians would say, "It's funny because it's true."

Full Review Source: Film Journal International

October 25, 2010
Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
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Familiar show-business satire is enlivened by genuinely witty, off-kilter humor.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

October 30, 2010
Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
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Every aspiring performer will appreciate Gregori Viens' unassuming comedy, which cheerfully skewers industry pretensions and media-fueled trends.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/5

November 8, 2010
Joe Leydon
Top Critic IconTop Critic
February 23, 2012
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