Wednesday, August 03, 2005

High Society

Saw "The Aristocrats" last night. Funny? Yes. Obscene? Most definitely. Worth seeing? By all means, yes. Gilbert Gottfried alone was worth the price of admission (despite the fact that said price is now $10.75). Yet it still raised some questions.

1) The fact that the movie was advertised and promoted as "the most obscene movie ever," or something like that, made sure that anyone seeing it would be disappointed by the actual level of obscenity. OK, sure, there were probably some little kids or nuns or something who were shocked and horrified by the liberal use of profanity and sexual imagery, but I wasn't. When it's said that a movie is going to break all boundaries of common decency (and it's still questionable whether it was more offensive than the "South Park" movie), you can't help but going into with outsized expectations. You're being set up for a fall—you're inevitably going to be, if not disappointed, at least underwhelmed. I mean, I love George Carlin as much as the next guy, but his whole act just isn't nearly as shocking as it was when he started it back 30 years ago. It takes a lot more than incest and bestiality to shock a 21st century audience. Although, to the movie's credit, they sure tried.

2) A couple of notes on the previews: I can't WAIT for Sarah Silverman's movie. Oughta make "The Aristocrats" look like "The Aristocats." And whoever greenlighted the upcoming movie with Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy should be shot. Immediately.

3) The comedians in "The Aristocrats" were great. The aformentioned Gottfried, Carlin and Silverman, Bob Saget, Paul Reiser, Andy Richter, Andy Dick, Chris Rock, Steven Wright, Whoopi Goldberg. But you couldn't help but wonder about the guys who didn't appear. Did Penn Jillette not ask them? Or did they decline? I'm talking about guys like Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chapelle, Denis Leary, Larry David, David Letterman, Bobcat Goldthwait, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Bill Cosby (although somehow I think he would have passed), John Cleese. And it's a goddamn shame that Sam Kinison, Mitch Hedberg, Milton Berle and especially Rodney Dangerfield didn't live long enough to participate. (Then again, why didn't someone break out a Ouija board? Whoopi was in "Ghost," she should know the deal.)

4) The joke itself kind of sucks. Sure, you can stretch it out and make it absurdly disgusting, but when you already know the payoff, what's so damn funny? It's comedic masturbation. And it's the delivery more than the content that makes it occasionally great. (If you see it, note the difference between Gottfried and Saget.) Obscenity is so passé now anyway—thanks to things like "South Park."

5) Just see it. You could probably use a laugh.

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