An unexpected side to comedian
There are those who recognize Gilbert Gottfried as the squawky voice behind the parrot Iago in Disney’s “Aladdin” and, formerly, the Aflac duck, and those who know him as a fearlessly filthy-mouthed comedian’s comedian.
Both camps are in for a sweet surprise with “Gilbert,” Neil Berkeley’s alternately hilarious and heartfelt documentary portrait of the diminutive 62year-old eccentric as we’ve never seen him before — an attentive brother and adoring husband and father.
No one could be more shocked by the development than Gottfried, an introvert who would appear more in his comfort zone on the road to gigs at places with names like Zanies and Side Splitters rather than in a tastefully decorated Manhattan apartment with his wife, Dara, and two young kids.
Berkeley doesn’t skimp on footage of the inspired performances that earned Gottfried an early and impressive fan base, or on knowing commentary by Jay Leno, Penn Jillette, Whoopi Goldberg, Howie Mandell and Arsenio Hall, but it’s the domestic sequences that prove most revealing.
Whether it’s watching Gottfried accompany his photographer sister, Arlene, to the hospital for cancer treatments (she succumbed in August) or seeing Dara vacuum-packing her hoarder hubby’s collection of hotel room toiletries, “Gilbert” emerges as a remarkably insightful keeper. No joke.
“Gilbert.” Not rated. Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes. Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica; Ahrya Fine Arts, Beverly Hills.
GILBERT GOTTFRIED and his wife, Dara, in an alternately hilarious and heartfelt documentary.