Jiminy Glick in Lalawood

| May 10, 2005

Jiminy Glick In Lalawood is a comically and structurally anemic film stretched impossibly thin from a sketch character who’d already overstayed his welcome. The first few times I caught Jiminy’s interviews on Comedy Central, years ago, I thought the character was a hilarious and timely set piece–Hollywood poking fun at its own self-obsession and self-congratulatory nature in the guise of an over-inflated (literally and figuratively) celebrity interviewer, cast in the form of the hopelessly dim-witted love child of James Lipton and Barbara Walters. I loved seeing Short’s sweaty, corpulent Glick trying to get the likes of Jerry Seinfeld to crack–mainly for the sheer entertainment value of seeing two smart comedians improvise together and bust each other’s chops. But, sadly, after the novelty of watching the clueless, tactless, and ridiculously inept Glick poking the ribs of Hollywood’ elite wore off (which didn’t take long), my attention span waned. Despite this, however, upon hearing there was a movie in the works based on the character, I tried to remain optimistic, reminding myself of the unlikely successes of The Blues Brothers or Wayne’s World, both based on sketch characters, rather than, say, A Night At The Roxbury.
Sadly, I was setting myself up for disappointment. Semi-improvised Glick attempts to integrate the character’s trademark, over-the-top celebrity interviews (some with real celebs, some fictional) with a hokey and out of place murder mystery, narrated by Short’s other alter ego in the film, David Lynch (an admirable impersonation, I must admit). Our film starts with Jiminy, the premiere celebrity interviewer of Butte, Montana, getting the opportunity of his lifetime to travel with his wife Dixie (Jan Hooks) and two fat, pubescent children to the Toronto Film Festival, where he hopes to interview Hollywood’s hottest stars. Unfortunately, Jiminy’s access to said stars leaves much to be desired (as does that of his tidy, French-braided press liaison, whose entertainment experience consists of working in a video store), and he’s unable to secure a single interview. All that changes, however, when, after sleeping through what may be the worst movie ever made, Jiminy gives Lalawood’s Brad Pitt equivalent, Ben DiCarlo’s, new film the only good review in town. He’s granted an exclusive interview with the star and, overnight, is catapulted to journalist A-list status. Everyone wants to be interviewed by Jiminy, and he’s wined and dined by the best of them.
His luck is about to change ‘for the worse, however, as were constantly informed by Short’s Lynch. Using a repetitive “E! True Hollywood Story”-like gimmick (complete with reenactments) of the 1950’s murder of Lana Turner’s husband as a touchstone, Lynch weaves the story of Jiminy’s own involvement in the possible murder of a fictional aging Hollywood starlet (Elizabeth Perkins). Glick isn’t sure if he was involved in the murder or not (a long night of hip hop and malt liquor clouded his memory), but he and Dixie are determined to get to the bottom of it. All is revealed eventually by Lynch in his own version of “the butler did it” final speech of Clue.
Glick’s antics grow weary from the start, and the film’s humor handicap is further fraught with major pacing problems and a narrative structure that’s all over the place. One feels sorry for the editor, who was charged with piecing together three elements–Glick’s mockumentary-style celeb interviews, a noir parody murder mystery, and the David Lynch spoof (the latter two don’t integrate well together)–into a coherent and entertaining feature comedy. It was a kamikaze mission, a doomed effort from the start. The funny is lacking in just about every aspect of the film–the narrative portions involving Perkins, Hooks, and an under-used Janeane Garofolo offer wan laughs at best (DiCarlo’s aforementioned biopic about the early career of Gandhi as a shit-talking boxer is particularly egregious), and even the improvised interviews with the likes of Steve Martin fall flat for the most part. Despite his efforts, Glick is neither Short’s Austin Powers nor Waiting For Guffman; this is one to miss.

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