American: The Bill Hicks Story - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

American: The Bill Hicks Story Reviews

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Top Critic
April 7, 2011
It's heavy on facts, but short on insight -- a surface-level look at a performer of extraordinary depth.
Full Review | Original Score: 5.5/10
Top Critic
Andrew Schenker
Village Voice
April 6, 2011
Hicks's shtick is so good and his life so ordinary that it's hard to escape the feeling that we might've been better off just watching a compilation of the groundbreaking funnyman's work.
Bill Weber
Slant Magazine
April 6, 2011
The vitriolic comedian's career gets a photo-animated documentary treatment which drowns out his voice with a chorus of friends and family.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Brian Orndorf
May 30, 2011
Doesn't impart much in the way of hard facts about Hicks, preferring an affectionate route of celebration, blindly fawning over this mystery man in a way that would likely make Hicks himself retch.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Chris Cabin
April 7, 2011
a well-produced, visually buoyant ode made by two fans and ready-made for Hicks' pre-existing fan base
| Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
April 7, 2011
Recounts a bright-burning life while leaving us mostly in the dark.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
April 7, 2011
Like Man In The Moon, American applies a thick gloss of reverence and sentimentality to the story of a comic pioneer who made his living challenging the kinds of neat, convenient, slickly packaged narratives presented here.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Adam Smith
Radio Times
May 13, 2010
Details about his personal life and what drove him professionally are lacking -- maybe the result of the film requiring the co-operation of Hicks's family.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Frank Lovece
Film Journal International
April 7, 2011
Hagiographic documentary of the late standup comic, with great visual style but gaping narrative and thematic holes due to the filmmakers' remarkable decision to only interview Hicks' loving family and friends.
Neil Rosen
April 14, 2011
If you want to experience Bill Hicks' best cutting edge, controversial comedy and then decide for yourself if the praise he did receive was warranted, this documentary achieves none of that.
Thomas Caldwell
Cinema Autopsy
November 2, 2010
The best way to really understand who Bills Hicks was is still to listen to his albums. The second best way is to see this film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Corey Hall
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
July 1, 2011
American plays less like a primer than a devotional, a dangerous thing for a satirist committed to "evolving ideas."
Full Review | Original Score: B
Simon Foster
September 8, 2010
American: The Bill Hicks Story is the kind of film that every artist hopes will be made of their life's work some day.
Rossiter Drake
San Francisco Examiner
October 26, 2010
It is more a celebration than a lament, and the emotions it evokes are as potent as the force behind Hicks' most inspired comedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Greg Quill
Toronto Star
April 14, 2011
The movie's appeal extends to the manner of its construction; it's an almost hypnotic kind of hybrid animation in which hundreds of photographs of Hicks in various poses and at various stages in his life are grafted onto two-dimensional backgrounds.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Sophie Ivan
Little White Lies
May 13, 2010
A little too in love with its subject, but a treat for fans.
| Original Score: 3/5
Andrew Mueller
Uncut Magazine [UK]
June 2, 2010
Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas' doc is a triumph of style and content. It looks extraordinary.
Eric D. Snider
February 3, 2011
Like many documentaries of this genre, it was made by fans, for fans. Even casual observers, though, can see that Hicks was talented, a conflicted young man who deserved more success than he ever got.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Sean Gandert
Paste Magazine
April 7, 2011
American isn't a necessary film, in that it won't really change anyone's opinion about Hicks nor does it bring a new interpretation to his life, but it's a well-made and entertaining movie that gives the man his due.
Full Review | Original Score: 7.0/10
Prairie Miller
WBAI Radio
April 11, 2011
A magical, tragical mystery tour through late comic legend innovator's standup rebel humor, and his politics of comedy that took on Iraq, Waco, the religious right, advertising and capitalism.
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