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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Comedian (2016)

A washed up stand up comedian (Robert De Niro) is recently released from prison for assaulting a heckler in a comedy club. As he attempts to revitalize his career, he also has to still do community service at a soup kitchen where he meets a troubled young woman (Leslie Mann) who will have a profound effect on his life. Directed by Taylor Hackford (DOLORES CLAIBORNE), the good news is that this is De Niro's best performance in years. After too often coasting on his reputation in movies not worthy of him, he's got a juicy role that he jumps in fully committed. The bad news is that the film itself isn't very good. As an actor, De Niro has good comic timing which he displays here in the film proper. But he doesn't have a stand up's comic timing which is a different thing and when he's onstage doing stand up, he doesn't feel authentic especially when he's surrounded with real working stand up comics doing their act. The film's highlight is a Jewish lesbian wedding and if the rest of the film were on that level, this would have been a terrific film. But it's still worth checking out to see De Niro back in top form. The massive supporting cast is wonderful and includes Harvey Keitel, Danny DeVito, Edie Falco, Billy Crystal, Charles Grodin, Cloris Leachman (very good), Patti LuPone, Lois Smith (wasted), Jimmie Walker and Brett Butler. 

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