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Light on detail and insight, Live from New York! offers little that SNL fans haven't seen in any of the show's various retrospective specials.
All Critics (45)
| Top Critics (22)
| Fresh (24)
| Rotten (21)
It's refreshing to see a retrospective of the show that's not bogged down by overly detailed timelines and the desire to wax nostalgic.
Nguyen does fine work illustrating how SNL went from the ultimate outsider show to the ultimate institution, stopping along the way to touch briefly on controversies .
As infomercials go, the doc is funnier than a Sham-Wow! spot, but it's still an infomercial.
If you simply love the show, and want a movie about how it has reflected - and, rarely, helped change - attitudes about sex, gender and race, then "Live From New York!" may fit the bill.
It's too cursory, too frivolous to make a case for the show's importance as an American institution, even though it insists on it.
The movie contains enough warmth, humor and nostalgia to prove an affable if unremarkable snapshot.
Nguyen's film does deserve credit for not only not shying away from its subject's darker moments, but addressing them head-on in the first act.
It isn't just a rehash of the same old stories and clips. It's a stylish and entertaining examination of why it's still on the air, 40 years on - and why we're still talking about it.
Unfortunately lacking deep insight into the Saturday Night Live dynasty, [this] plays as a series of mini-documentaries that might come packaged with a best-of DVD.
Greater effort should have been spent examining the film's emerging ideas relating to racism, sexism, political involvement and changing public perspectives then using them as a basis for the film itself.
As fun and smart as the political sketches are, the director had plenty of room to shill, say, the Bass-o-Matic or Bad Idea Jeans.
A sloppy wet kiss.
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