Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show:

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Posted February 7, 2008 in Film

Stand up comedians are insecure narcissists. To its credit, Ari Sandel’s point-and-shoot documentary on Vince Vaughn and friends 30-day, 30-city vaudeville comedy tour admits that you might not want to share a month in their bus. Fastidious Sebastian Maniscalo dry cleans his sheets; self-touted “guido” Bret Ernst takes hour-long showers; John Caparulo says “dude” and “fuck” more than “the”; and Egypt-native Ahmed Ahmed takes forever to get cleared by security. The mood is sour when their tour gets derailed by Hurricane Rita and their producers force the four comics to hand out free tickets at a trailer park for displaced Katrina refugees. But they perk up when shaken out of their egocentric gripes by getting to know the evacuees. (It helps when a chubby kid identifies Vaughn’s friend Keir O’Donnell as “the gay dude!” from Wedding Crashers and laughs so hard he falls off his lawn chair.) Likewise, by then we’ve also started caring about the guys as Sandel has starting slowly doling out just enough of their personal information that we start to like Caparulo’s pandering redneck persona even more after sister says she used to call him Emily and he used to get beaten up on the school bus by girls. Vaughn’s star charisma carries much of the weight; he also picked out the gang, routed the tour, hosted the shows, taught the comics life lessons when they bombed, and dragged along his former co-stars as special guests including O’Donnell, Justin Long, and A Christmas Story’s Peter Billingsly who befriended Vaughn as teens when they starred in an anti-steroids after school special. Their friendships and the charm of the low-key Putting-On-A-Show vibe wears us down into pleasant submission, despite cliché annoyances like the endless footage devoted to reaction shots of cute chicks giggling which would have been better spent with the camera turned back towards the stage so we could see more than four minutes of Vaughn romping around doing improv. Vaughn deliberately chose theaters in middle America to pay tribute to the Heartland; however as the tour winds down and Maniscalo gets depressed about his return to waiting tables, the documentary seems even more about these hungry performers trying to feed their dreams.

 


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