HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
County Lines
Polytechnique
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Covert Action
Strangler's Web
Host
Nimic
House of Bamboo
Murder Me, Monster
Hell and High Water
Possessor
Flint
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Patrick
Cemetery
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Skyfire
Upright
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Agency
Blue My Mind
Thumbelina
Proxima
Aprile
Assassination Nation
Golden Key, The
Image Book, The
On Body and Soul
Unhinged
Eyewitness
Girlfriends
Danger Within
Rent-A-Pal
   
 
Newest Articles
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
   
 
  Aristocrats, The It's Not Funny If You Have To Explain It
Year: 2005
Director: Paul Provenza
Stars: Penn Jillette, Teller, Jason Alexander, Hank Azaria, George Carlin, Billy Connolly, Andy Dick, Phyllis Diller, Carrie Fisher, Whoopi Goldberg, Gilbert Gottfried, Eddie Izzard, Michael McKean, Larry Miller, Kevin Pollak, Harry Shearer, Robin Williams
Genre: Comedy, DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: There's an old joke popular amongst professional comedians that they don't usually tell to their audiences, mainly because it's obscene, but also because relating it is a badge of pride depending on how revolting they can be and still make people laugh. And it's the telling that is important rather than the punchline, which is largely a letdown compared with what has gone before; the joke basically tells of a man entering the office of a theatrical agent and telling him he has a great act that he may be interested in. The agent asks him to describe it, or show it to him in some versions, and what follows is a wallow in depravity that finishes when the agent asks the man what the act is called. "The Aristocrats" is the reply.

Considering the amount of comic talent assembled for director Paul Provenza's film, you might be eagerly anticipating a laugh riot, but what you actually get is the comedians' equivalent of a group of salesmen talking shop for an hour and a half. You may be mistaken for thinking the joke central to the proceedings was in fact all made up for the occasion, and has no history after all, but the participants describe it in such detail that you're forced to draw the conclusion that it is indeed a real gag. Unfortunately, while the comedians say that it's the story in the middle that really makes it funny, after hearing it performed over and over again in various permutations, you may well beg to differ.

The array of faces on display here is nonetheless impressive, but despite their good-natured efforts they just can't raise so much as a giggle for the greater percentage of the running time. Robin Williams has a try on the beach, Phyllis Diller doesn't tell it but reacts to it, Carrie Fisher brings in her mother to her version, Sarah Silverman claims to have been part of the act as a child, and the joke is analysed to the point of exhaustion but rarely to the point of enlightenment. Eddie Izzard gives the impression of having just being told it immediately before the camera rolled as he fails to make anything coherent out of it. And on it goes, one damn thing after another, but essentially the same damn thing over and over again.

The core of The Aristocrats is the description of the unnatural acts, which can involve incest, shit eating, vomiting, bestiality if the pet dog is mentioned, and perhaps violence too if the teller feels it's necessary. But that's really all there is to it, there's no wit there, and for a feature length film the subject is wearisomely repetitive. The only bit that is really funny, where imagination has been drafted in, is where one Billy the Mime acts out the joke without saying anything, a nice note of the ridiculous that is pretty much absent elsewhere. A few interviewees make the point that these days the joke has lost its power to shock, and that could be the problem here as unless the sound of filthy language tickles the funny bone, there's precious little other material to amuse. So what does shock? By the time race has been brought up, boredom has set in: it's all too calculated and bizarrely, safe, not pushing back significant barriers. Still, the Aristocrats joke seems to have been designed exclusively for comedians to entertain each other with material they wouldn't get away with otherwise, so it's probably best left to them alone. Music by Gary Stockdale.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6094 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: