Abel Raises Cain

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86%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 7

89%

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User Ratings: 323
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Movie Info

Jenny Abel grew up with an eccentric father, to put it mildly. A film producer and occasional journalist for the likes of National Lampoon magazine, Alan Abel spent his life pulling off a seemingly endless series of elaborate media pranks, whereby he would repeatedly drum up insane causes -- from banning human breast-feeding to slapping diapers on animals -- and appear on news broadcasts under phony aliases plugging the oddball perspectives. At other times, Abel played practical jokes on the public by convincing them, en masse, of some fallacious truth. But the phenomenon was scarcely local in nature: Abel's hoaxes appeared on programs as institutional as Good Morning America and in publications as omnipresent as The New York Times (as when he planted an obituary in the paper, on January 2, 1980, erroneously indicating his own death from a heart attack). Abel also enlisted the top drawer of talent as his accomplices -- he recruited no less than Buck Henry to plug the "diapers on animals" campaign. All of this activity led various media pundits to brand Abel as one of the world's most brilliant satirists, and instilled in Jenny a lifelong fascination with her father's motivations and modus operandi. With the documentary Abel Raises Cain, Jenny Abel takes a long, loving look at her father's life and most unusual career.

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Critic Reviews for Abel Raises Cain

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (1)

  • Highly entertaining, in a casual, home-movie way.

    December 5, 2008 | Rating: 3/4
  • More a love letter from daughter Jenny to her father than a worthy portrait of Abel's caustic, media-savvy and mind-bending social comedy.

    August 26, 2005

    Robert Koehler

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • If you don't giggle at some of Alan's gags and the reaction our increasingly polarized culture has to them, you're a prime candidate to fall for him next time.

    August 26, 2005 | Rating: 3/5
  • A host of hoaxes far funnier than the best of Candid Camera!

    December 10, 2009 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • There's no denying that Alan Abel is a character, and any glimpse behind the schemes is better than none.

    October 26, 2007 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The movie could also do a better job of explaining the inner forces that drive Abel - and especially his wife, one of his regular co-conspirators. Such gaps, though, don't seriously detract from the movie's roguish pull.

    August 26, 2005 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Abel Raises Cain

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