NOW Magazine - Hot Docs - - Reviews -

(Robert Cam­pos, Donna Lo­Ci­cero, U. S.). 90 min­utes. Rat­ing: NNN Co­me­di­ans Will Durst, Johnny Steele and Larry “Bub­bles” Brown seemed poised for star­dom dur­ing the stand- up boom of the 80s, but it never quite hap­pened. In­stead, all three re­mained just the wrong side of fa­mous, never break­ing through the way com­rades like Robin Wil­liams or Dana Car­vey man­aged to do.

The doc catches up with them now, as they con­tinue to make a living per­form­ing in clubs (and oc­ca­sion­ally on TV), and it’s a pretty de­press­ing sight. Tal­ented as they may be, there’s no get­ting around the fact that th­ese guys are fully aware that they missed their win­dow – with the pos­si­ble ex­cep­tion of Brown, who seems con­vinced that he’s on the verge of dis­cov­ery de­spite be­ing al­most patho­log­i­cally in­com­pat­i­ble with main­stream au­di­ences.

The cheer­ful score and bouncy ed­i­to­rial struc­ture work against the melan­choly and frus­tra­tion, which is un­for­tu­nately am­pli­fied even fur­ther by the film­mak­ers’ re­liance on their in­ter­view with the late Wil­liams, who’s sub­dued and wist­ful in a way that now plays like a missed sig­nal. NW Apr 29, 7 pm, TIFF 3; Apr 30, 9 pm, TIFF 1; May 2, 1 pm, Hart House

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