In 10 Words or Less
There's hope for Southern comedy
As anyone who's read my review of "Larry the Cable Guy: Git-R-Done" or "The Jeff Foxworthy Show" can tell you, I'm not the world's biggest fan of country comedy (otherwise known as hillbilly humor.) So it was with trepidation that I placed Bill Engvall's DVD into my player. Engvall's another member of Foxworthy's Blue Collar Comedy crew, which, in my eyes, placed him among such comic luminaries as Carrot Top and the woman who draws "Cathy."
So as the show rolled on, I was surprised to find myself laughing often. I was also not hearing the harsh drawl of Larry and Foxworthy. Engvall comes off as the most cultured of the group, wearing a blazer and button-up shirt with his jeans, while not relying on Southern stereotypes to get his laughs. His jokes are much more universal than Larry the Cable Guy's redneck ramblings, and don't contain the macho BS his brethren hold as holy. In fact, he's often rather effeminate, right down to his Musketeer facial hair. Being able to touch both sides of the gender divide makes him that much more entertaining.
The show, shot in Anaheim, hits on the traditional targets of comedy, including the differences between newlyweds and older couples, raising children and getting old. Some of Engvall's more unique bits though focus on parasailing while high on Vicodin and how movie love scenes differ from real life. His trademark "Here's your sign" routine, a stand-up version of the MAD Magazine classic "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions," is saved for last, and it doesn't fail to deliver. Overall, Engvall is a comic most everyone can enjoy, but at the same time, he is not a schmaltzy, bland performer.
On one disc, you get Engvall's 72-minute stand-up act, presented in anamorphic widescreen. One special feature and a pair of audio tracks, along with a "pick your bit" option, are all you get on the oddly full-frame menus. The menus, which are similar to those on Larry the Cable Guy's DVD, are animated with jokes from his show. A one-sided insert lists the chapter titles.
Shot in widescreen, this show looks fantastic. The colors are bold and brilliant, while the blacks are deep and solid. The disc's video encoding averages a surprising 7Mbps, making for a wonderful viewing experience. Aurally, the disc has both 5.1 (448Kbps) and 2.0 Surround (224Kbps) soundtracks. Obviously, the 5.1 track has a deeper sound to it, but the 2.0 track isn't bad either. The mix between the audience and Engvall is done nicely, so neither overpowers.
Just one extra here, and that's an underwhelming photo gallery. It's kind of humorous to watch it in super fast-forward, making it into a flip book.
The Bottom Line
I had nearly written it off, but Engvall has redeemed the genre of country comedy with his inclusive and often quite funny act. With a low retail price, this is a good choice for any fan of stand-up, and a must-have for those with a hankering for that Blue Collar Comedy.
Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or his convention blog called Conning Fellow
*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.