In the world of film criticism, it doesn't get much more small-time than Butte, Montana-based film critic Jiminy Glick (Martin Short). Glick is an entertainment reporter for a local television station. Up until now his biggest claim to fame is having a local actress on his show a total of 21 times, despite not even caring for her work. That, however, is all about to change as Jiminy has been accredited to cover the Toronto Film Festival, where the premiere of the new Ben Dicarlo (Corey Pearson) movie is set to happen. With his wife Dixie (Jan Hooks) and two obese sons Matthew and Modine in tow, Jiminy hits the road for the glitz and glamor of his first festival experience. Not long after arrival, the Glicks attend the screening for 'Growing Up Ghandi', the gala opening event featuring Hollywood bad boy Ben Dicarlo. Jiminy falls asleep instantly, given the boring and art house nature of the release. However, that doesn't stop him from recommending the film later on that night on his live report for the station. A Hollywood party ensues, and Jiminy begins to alienate and annoy many of the celebrities attending the gathering, including Miranda Coolidge (Elizabeth Perkins), a washed-up has-been of an actress trying to make her comeback with a lesbian-themed picture. Trying to keep Miranda sober is her skeezy Euro-trash producer husband Andre Devine (John Michael Higgins) and her daughter (Linda Cardenelli), who just seems to be around for the free trip. The next morning, Jiminy wakes up and a who's who of publicists are knocking down his door to land the next Jiminy Glick softball interview. However, Jiminy is frightened due to a dream he had that he murdered Miranda during a wild night of sex and drinking. Jiminy's fears are magnified when Miranda cancels their interviews and is nowhere to be found. What exactly happened that night and just where does Jiminy Glick fit in?
Jiminy Glick in La La Wood is a disappointing film given the potential in the subject matter and the fact that Martin Short's character from the short-lived but highly successful and often hilarious Comedy Central television series Primetime Glick has gained a cult-sized group of fans. As a film critic and entertainment writer myself, if this film was done right it could have been an amusing satire of a profession that is built around a pretty absurd concept, which is more about promotion and hype than something of substance. Essentially, it's the idea of quote-whore journalists and the junket interview where an actor or actress answers the same prepackaged questions for an ever-changing parade of interviewers. However, instead of being smart, witty, and funny, what the audience is left with in director Vadim Jean's motion picture is an unevenly paced 90 minutes of celluloid, ninety percent of which is devoid of any sort of laugh-worthy material and ten percent which is hit and miss but at least makes a viable attempt to be funny. As far as I can tell, the problem comes from the improvised nature of the story along with the inclusion of an absurd murder mystery subplot which consumes the second half of the feature and takes Jiminy away from what he does best, which is interview celebrities with little enthusiasm about what they want to promote, insteading choosing to go off on random tangents. The film is at its best when Jiminy is talking to Kiefer Sutherland or Steve Martin.
Given the highly improvised nature of the feature, a lot of pressure is placed upon the cast's shoulder to deliver a funny and hopefully entertaining motion picture, because if the cast can't make it work then the film will fall flat on its face â€" and in Jiminy's case, it's a rather large one. Christopher Guest is famous for his mockumentaries which are for the most part improvised. Sadly, Vadim Jean doesn't match the same level of success with his core group. There's no questioning Martin Short's talents, and he delivers another strong performance as Jiminy. He's really got the character down and makes it seem as though Jiminy is real. Short also plays David Lynch, the narrator of the tale, and nails the quirky and decidedly offbeat director's persona so well that I was having a hard time figuring out if it was the real Lynch or not. Aside from Short and John Michael Higgins, who gets a number of laughs as Miranda's Euro-trash producer husband, the rest of the cast is disappointing. Elizabeth Perkins does her best to try and be the film's Sharon Stone-type figure, but fails, while MadTV alums Mo Collins and Aries Spears are given little to do in nothing parts.
I wanted to like Jiminy Glick in La La Wood because the idea and concept really had the potential to be entertaining to someone in my profession. Sadly, there are just not enough laughs to be had and the film is, as a whole, pretty unfunny and unfocused. Although not a Saturday Night Live sketch turned movie, this is another case where something that may be hilarious for a short period of time does not translate well when you stretch the length out to make a movie. The production values are also pretty lame and uninteresting, and the feature just never gets off the ground. If you took all the gags in the film and compressed them back into a 6-12 minute short film, then you'd have something. As it stands now, Jiminy is worth a look on DVD if you're a fan of the character. If, however, your looking for a Christopher Guest-type satire then you're not going to find it here. In the past week or so, I've been watching Martin Short on the talk show circuit to promote the movie, and he's been funnier in those 10-minute interviews than he is in this entire movie â€" and when they've showed a clip it's always been of one of those fake interviews and not a plot element. It's too bad that this movie isn't very good. Thankfully, for distributors MGM (US) and Equinoxe Films (Canada), the film will be quickly forgotten when that space epic opens in under two weeks.
Mark McLeod has always loved film. In addition to his roles with ShowbizMonkeys.com, Mark also works on many film promotion projects in Vancouver, BC, through his company, Mark McLeod PR.