OPINION: Have you heard the one about the stand-up comedian?
AUSTRALIAN Comic Carl Barron plays himself, I mean … plays Manny Lewis (hey, just like the title!) - a comedian struggling with life even though his career is blossoming. Despite sold-out tours, live TV specials, adoring fans stopping him in the street and an American career beckoning, Manny is just unhappy. And he doesn't know why. He is the proverbial sad clown.
But this is far from an existential drama.
Barron is definitely not an actor but does have a charming, hang-dog disposition that is somewhat endearing. His comedy is low-brow observationist and the movie only really fires when his well-honed shtick is in full flight. The rest of the film meanders along by the numbers - boy meets girl (in a series of unconvincing coincidences) - boy loses girl and then … you see where I'm going? Sure there are other elements involved, but they are given as about as much depth as a morning show news break. Zing!
Unfortunately, Barron's comedy, which gives the impression of lazy, spur-of-the-moment considerations - (I'm sure it's crafted to seem this way) - and humorous views on our day-to-day activities, doesn't transfer well to the big screen. His low-key self-diagnosed depression, rather than add dramatic effect, slows the pulse of the movie and makes it hard to cheer for a happy resolution. If only the script fizzed along, joke after joke like his stand-up show.
A screenplay doesn't have the opportunity to be tried and tested over years of RSL and Comedy Festival appearances. It has to work first time. You get one shot at a film. And, I'm sorry to say, it bombed.
The Travelling Film Festival
Be sure to try to get out to support the Sydney Film Festival this weekend in both Grafton and Yamba. A diverse line-up of feature films and shorts from this year's program shows some of the best work from around the world. The Clarence Valley is fortunate to have access to such a variety of films and needs our attendance for this tocontinue.
For more information about the festival, see www.sff.org.au.