DVD Review Of
Pauly Shore Is Dead
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 3/31/06
I’d never seen anything that comedian Pauly Shore has ever done. I know the name, the way I do other comics like Adam Sandler, Bobcat Goldthwaite, or Andrew Dice Clay, in one of those offhanded ways that the detritus of celebrity gossip filters through the mind. Similarly, I know blond bombshell singer Jessica Simpson is now a hot-to-trot divorcee, or Jennifer Aniston is fuming over Brad Pitt’s dumping her for Angelina Jolie. All I know is that he was a popular comedian a decade or so ago, who failed in a film and tv career. Apparently, this is the premise for his film, a self-produced attempted comedy where the man lampoons his own failed career.
I had heard from some people that the film was a mockumentary where B list celebrities were told Shore was dead, and the film documented their reactions. Would that this were the actual film! It’s not, but that premise is intriguing. The film Shore actually made is not. It amazes how a supposed comedian cannot even successfully parody, satirize, nor lampoon his own flaws effectively! Then again, he’s simply not funny.
Instead of a mockumentary the film consists of Shore telling the tale of how he killed himself to gain sympathy, was found out, and then sent to jail with other randy celebrities like rock star Tommy Lee, former child actor Todd Bridges, and Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss. Yet, the film fails on all levels because if one knows of the many in-jokes, there is simply nothing done over the top to accentuate the silliness, and if you are a Shorean virgin, like I was, there simply is nothing funny to any of the bits- even when a white trash Shore fan gets himself sent to jail so that he can kill Shore. He doesn’t, and the film ends with a whimper. A few years ago, in the late 1990s, there was a small independent film called Plump Fiction, which satirized Pulp Fiction, Natural Born Killers, and the raft of imitative films that followed in its wake. While not a particularly good film, that film, at least, had a few chuckles, and professional actors. This film uses mainly mugging celebrities like Charlie Sheen, Bill Maher, Pamela Anderson, Jason Mewes (Jay from the Jay and Silent Bob comedy team from Kevin Smith films), Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, Ben Stiller, Tom Sizemore, Corey Feldman, Jerry Springer, Tommy Chong, Kato Kaelin, Chris Rock, Britney Spears, Vince Vaughn, Sean Penn, and Verne Troyer (Mini-Me from the Austin Powers films), and Shore pals who never acted before.
As for the DVD extras, the commentary is ridiculously bad, with Shore merely saying what scenes he likes, and then reaffirming their likeability. For example, in a scene where equally bad comic Carrot Top starts moving in to Shore’s home, when he’s forced to sell it, Shore chimes on rapturously about how ‘cool’ it was that carrot Top was acting like an asshole, in stark contrast to a series of commercials he had done for AT&T. There’s not even an attempt at an explanation of why or why not the camera was set here nor there. Of course, if one were to chide the acting in the film, without mentioning that Shore has no sense of screen composition, would be criminal. The making of featurette is similarly vapid, and there are plenty of anomic scenes of rap stars and Shore pals talking about everything but anything relevant to the film or its making. The deleted scenes are as bad as anything in the film, which means there was no rhyme nor reason in what was included and what was excluded from the film.
The screenplay, if one can call this one note monstrosity that, was written by Shore and some guy named Kirk Fox, yet it all smacks of being a vanity project, laced with bad one liners where the B listers try to recall who Shore was, after his ‘death’, then rail against him when exposed. You know you’re film is in trouble when a supposedly funny scripted line by Chris Rock, ‘No Pauly. Fuck you. Stay dead,’ turns out to be the most genuine reaction to this film. My only consolation is that the DVD was cheap and this review will hopefully deter any other potential viewers from lining Shore’s pockets. You have to take small victories wherever you can get them, sometimes.
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