Length: 100 minutes
Director: Ari Sandel (West Bank Story; Brad Cutter Ruined My Life… Again)
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Justin Long, Jon Favreau, Dwight Yoakam, Ahmed Ahmed, Peter Billingsley, Keir O’Donnell, Buck Owens, John Caparulo, Bret Ernst, Sebastian Maniscalo, Taylor Hackford
When I saw the trailer for the new Vince Vaughn documentary (deep breath…) “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights- Hollywood to the Heartland”, I was pretty stoked. Vince Vaughn is one of my favorite actors and has the ability to make me laugh usually just by pretty much appearing on screen (I was crying laughing before he even spoke in “Anchorman”- I am a weirdo). The premise of the doc is pretty simple- Vince gathered a handful of hand picked up and coming comics he admired and decided to do a tour- “Just like Buffalo Bill did” according to him- across the heartland of America. Not a bad idea. The stand up comedy docs have had prior success in Jerry Seinfeld’s underrated “Comedian” and Spike Lee’s “The Kings of Comedy” (not the dozen knock offs that followed though). This doc, however, does not work. The comics Vaughn has chosen just simply are not very funny. Not funny enough to carry an entire film anyway. I can only imagine the poor saps that were drawn in to the show due to Vaughn’s name on the Marquee, saw about fifteen minutes of a usually very tired Vaughn (or so it seems), and then had to sit through the weak routines of the comics he brought along. John Caparulo has the most presence of the bunch, but even he seems like a doomed contestant on “Last Comic Standing”. Vaughn occasionally brings along some guests- “Swingers”/ “Made” partner (and “Iron Man” director) Jon Favreau, “Dodgeball” co-star Justin Long, “Wedding Crashers” co-star Keir O’Donnell, Dwight Yoakam, “Christmas Story”’s “Ralphie” (and one of the movie’s producers) Peter Billingsley, etc., but they are mostly wasted. Particularly the bit with Favreau and Long, which Long is literally asked to play waiter to the other two. Billingsley’s bit is one of the movie’s highlights as he provides some old footage of his and Vaughn’s appearance in an ‘80’s after-school special about steroids (all I could think about was that scene in “Swingers” where Vince talks about his after-school special audition). Other than that, the other aspects of the documentary fail to be of interest. The behind the scenes parts are dull with mostly the comics whining about the chores of being on tour or how their performances bombed (in which they are mostly correct). There’s also a really forced Hurricane Katrina portion in which Vaughn, very nicely, puts on a benefit show for the victims- though some of the comics complain about having to hand out free tickets to the victims, which is a bit appalling. All in all, the driving force of the movie -Vince himself- isn’t as charismatic as usual, the editing is sloppy, the comics aren’t funny, and the road trip isn’t very interesting. During a video round up before one of the shows, a fan declares something along the lines of “If Vince thinks these guys are funny, then I completely trust him!”. I hope she had a lot of drinks.
Pre-order the DVD Here (Release Date: 06/03/08)