The Comedian Reviews
DVD Movie Review: The Comedian
Date Viewed: May 8 2017
Directed By Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman, White Nights, Against All Odds, Everybody's All-American, Parker, Ray and The Devil's Advocate)
Screenplay By Art Linson, Jeff Ross, Richard LaGravenese, Lewis Friedman, Story By Art Linson
Starring: Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito, Harvey Keitel, Patti LuPone, Edie Falco, Charles Grodin, Veronica Ferres, Cloris Leachman, Happy Anderson and cameo appearances from Hannibal Buress, Jim Norton, Billy Crystal and Gilbert Gottfried.
Robert De Niro forget about punching Donald Trump in the face, the one person you should be punching in the face right now is yourself because you continue to disappoint your most loyal fans with these abominations. "The Comedian" is not another paycheck movie from De Niro this time, apparently it is a long time passion project. It's a labor of love from De Niro and director Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman, Against All Odds, White Nights, The Devil's Advocate, Ray) who should've known better and Richard LaGravenese (The Fisher King, Water for Elephants, Unbroken, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Conviction) and Jeff Ross who's the Comedy Central Roast master co-wrote the script. Does anybody remember Martin Scorsese's "The King of Comedy"? It starred Robert De Niro as Rupert Pupkin, a bad comedian who was actually pretty funny. However in "The Comedian", De Niro is supposed to play a good comedian but "OH LORD!" is he terrible. Not only does De Niro throw painfully unfunny jokes at us, he also partakes in one of the most horrifying scenes I think I've seen in my over 10-year career as a film critic.
Oh yeah folks, this movie is so bad not only do we have another botched "Taxi Driver" reunion between De Niro and Harvey Keitel, we also get a half-assed "Midnight Run" reunion as well with De Niro and Charles Grodin. Bobby you have every right to make a long-awaited passion project but why "The Comedian"? You already did this movie so brilliantly in 1982 so why settle for a poor man's version of Judd Apatow's "Funny People"? Speaking of Apatow and funny people, his wife Leslie Mann is in this movie and even though she has a kind presence on screen, she has nothing to deliver.
De Niro plays Jackie Burke, an aging comic icon who's very well known by his audience for his 70s TV show and the character he used to play. Burke attempts to reinvent his comic image but when he gets into altercation with an audience member, he's forced to serve 30 days in jail and do tons of community service. Burke had a chance to apologize to that member but nope he roasted him some more so the judge slapped him with a harsh sentence.
During his time in community service, he meets a lonely woman named Harmony (Mann) who's also emotionally damaged. Jackie offers to go out with Harmony and she agrees to it but she insists that it is not a date but come on movie! We all know they're going to have sex eventually! Jackie has a younger brother named Jimmy Berkowitz (Danny DeVito) but he's tired of doing favors for his famous brother and Jimmy's wife, Florence (Patti LuPone) cannot stand to be around him. Harmony also has a strained relationship with her real estate mogul father, Mac (Keitel) and what do you know! He comes from Florida and he scores a spot on orange-tan. Oh Gee? Could Keitel's character be inspired by another mega real estate tycoon with orange skin who by the way is currently the President of the United States? Go figure it out for yourself!
For a movie that's literally titled "The Comedian", it doesn't get the comedic world right. There's a scene where Jackie Burke gets invited to a special tribute for May Conner (Cloris Leachman), a 95-year-old Lucille Ball type comic legend. The event is not the usual epic comic roast you see now, the special tribute roast instead ends up being one of those classic Dean Martin roasts with a big circle on top of the comedian. Did we just travel back in time? They don't make these types of roasts anymore and how can co-screenwriter Jeff Ross (who's Comedy Central's roast guy) make that scene come crashing down? Jackie Burke isn't a very defining character for De Niro and every single joke he tells is either not funny, distasteful or just plain terrible. Oh yeah! Here's the horrifying scene I was telling you about, De Niro is at an old folks home and he performs a version of "Makin' Whoopie!" called "Makin' Poopie!". Allow me to scream in horror for you. AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
What did I just witnessed? How can anybody thought this would be funny? Any of the brain-dead "Alvin and the Chipmunks" songs were more watchable than that. I'll go even further, I'll rather endure listening to my English teacher sing than watching De Niro sing "Makin' Poopie!". That's right people, I've f$&@ing said it. I'll rather listen to my English teacher sing than watching De Niro singing about making shit. Again, De Niro is not doing another paycheck movie, he's doing a long-awaited passion project. Where was the passion De Niro really? Where did the passion go? The passion must've either ran for the exits or cried in horror when it had to listen to that incredible "Makin' Poopie!" song. It is the most horrifying and cringe-inducing song I've heard in a movie since the other horrifying and cringe-inducing song De Niro did. He previously performed an Ice Cube rap song in the jaw-droppingly terrible "Dirty Grandpa".
If "The Comedian" have just been about two emotionally-damaged people who try to salvage their bad days and start up a relationship then maybe something could've come out of it but as it is "The Comedian" is just a gigantic waste of talent. I hope Robert De Niro and that horrendous "Makin' Poopie!" song get slammed with a Razzie nomination for Worst Screen Combo because they would easily win that category hands down.
Flat-out horrible all around, "The Comedian" is without question one of the worst movies of 2017.
The bad language in this movie was simply unnecessary and took away from the story and potential comedy. Pathetic performances. Very sad that DeNiro has sunk to such lows.