Synopsis: Poking fun at his much-publicized brouhaha with Southwest Airlines, writer, director, actor and ardent podcaster Kevin Smith declares himself too fat for his 40th birthday in a hilarious show before his rabidly loyal fans. Filmed at the Count Basie Theater in Smith’s hometown of Red Bank, New Jersey, this two-hour comedy special spotlights not only Smith’s self-deprecating sense of humor, but also his fondness (and true gift) for spinning a good yarn. Tracking the turbulent year in his life in which he was tossed from the sky, Smith makes with the funny but still manages to ask the hard questions – like “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout Willis”
I’ve long been a fan of Kevin Smith – not just his movies, but also of the man himself. I’ve found him congenial, naturally funny and engaging. I was totally bowled over by his first solo DVD, ‘An Evening With Kevin Smith’, because it was almost four hours long and yet it was so engrossing that you couldn’t NOT watch it in one sitting.
So I picked up the next two. And, even though they offered diminishing returns, I remained a fan.
I was given this fourth DVD for my birthday by a buddy of mine and it’s been on our “must watch” list ever since. We finally got to it the other day, having cordoned off a whole afternoon for this sizeable speaking engagement.
It was slightly disappointing because, not only did we discover that Kevin Smith decided to become a stoner at 38, but most of his stories revolved around pot-smoking either directly or indirectly. This is a HUGE change from the Smith we once knew, who once would regale us with everyday things, putting his own particular twist on it all.
Now, we get stoner references. Great. That’s novel.
If I had wanted pot humour, I could get it a dime bag a dozen. Let’s face it: since the ’70s, and especially since Cheech and Chong, frat and teen humour has been rife with toke jokes. And it’s not just in low-brow comedies anymore, even the most conventional Hollywood dramas or light comedies bluntly light up from time to time.
It didn’t help that neither of us bounced back from hearing about Smith’s new lifestyle choice: deciding to become a super-regular weedman late in life, when he has a family, and having seen some of his closest friends go down some dark paths due to drugs, isn’t exactly inspiring. In fact, it sounds downright moronic.
It gave both of us the impression that he’s using it as a crutch after being knocked over by a lack of professional success and reduced inspiration. But he should know by now that going chronic is only temporary relief, that it will actually impede both in the long-run – especially at the rate that he seems to be consuming these days. Sigh…
Anyway, all this to say that Smith hasn’t lost his ability to kill over three hours in one breath, but his focus has dramatically changed; he’s not as sharp as we’re used to seeing him, and his humour has completely gone to pot. So check it out with these factors in mind.
Nota bene: while the DVD boasts “hours of exclusive bonus features”, this is actually a sham. There is 50 minutes of encore Q&As, plus an 8-minute promo. This makes for a few minutes short of an hour and, frankly, I would consider the encore to be part of the show – not a “bonus” feature.