Here's the question you have to ask yourselfâ€”do you think Jiminy Glick is funny? If the answer is no, then you'll have a hard time spending 90 minutes with the corpulent, star- struck celebrity interviewer in his debut film, Jiminy Glick in LaLaWood. Butâ€”if the answer is yes then, like me, you'll be laughing yourself silly even while acknowledging the movie is oftentimes just plain stupid.
But then it's also, like Prime Time Glick (the Comedy Central series it's based on) quite astute in skewering the obsessions of celebrity worship. With Martin Short's bizarre creation of this sweat-drenched, ill-suit wearing, overly eager, obnoxiously all-over-the-place interviewer (while interviewing Kurt Russell, he's maniacally laughing with glee over how much he loves Elvis and then asks Russell if Kurt knew at age 10 if Elvis' daughter would marry Michael Jackson) the cult of celebrity is made surreal, repulsive and hilarious. Like Sacha Baron-Cohen's Ali G character, Short's Glick is a smarter-than- he-appears creation in that his shallowness underscores how asinine the typical, press junket, in-and-out interview frequently is (this coming from someone who's seen this firsthandâ€”watching weary actors answering the same stupid questions from a collection of "interviewers" who look like they just emerged from the shire).
And that he's some freakish cross between a creepy Louie Anderson-like goody-goody with an old timey, slightly fey movie buff (Ava Gardner, Lana Turner and Ethel Merman are just some classic stars brought up) with a supposedly hard hitting, straight to the jugular reporter, Glick's like some appalling baby Pat O' Brien, Leeza Gibbons and James Lipton conjured from some sick, Cronenberg Brood-like womb. The shape of fame.
So it makes some sense that the film would place it, ever so slightly, in a Lynch-ian universe, complete with Short heavily made up like the Mulholland Drive director. But that's where the picture falls most flat. Still, it's never completely tiresome. Whenever the film showed a Lynch style slow mo of Glick stabbing a movie star it cracked me up every time.
The film takes Butte, Montana entertainment reporter Glick and family (wife Dixie played by a hilarious Jan Hooks and his two, big boned twin boys named Modine and Matthewâ€”a joke that isn't funny until Glick randomly states it was because of Modine's film Birdy) to the Toronto Film Festival where oodles of stars walk the red carpet. Jiminy's been assigned to review the film, Growing Up Gandhi but sleeps through the screening, leading to the movie's only good review. Because of Glick's false enthusiasm the reporter lands the rare exclusive sit down with the director and star (Corey Pearson), an idiotic, young Hollywood pretty boy play-acting deep. Glick finds himself more in demand after his scoop but complications arise when alcoholic star Miranda Coolidge (Elizabeth Perkinsâ€”playing off how washed up she is herself) may have been stabbed to death after a boozy night with Glick. Did Glick do the deed? Only David Lynch can explain.
Yes, David Lynch who's a bit off the radar to poke fun at but then, the fact that Short just keeps going with it makes the payoff funnier than it has any right to be. Short and Hooks (who gives one of the most un-glamorous portraits of a Midwestern wife, citing her private area as "big as a purse" after having two kidsâ€”"Remember what I said to you about that word mystique?" Glick reminds his wife) are brilliantly up on their improv game. Truly, I was dying in nearly all their scenes together. Even in their (yuck) moment of passion.
And in scenes with Steve Martin and Kurt Russell, Short's Glick provides some priceless instances of off-the-cuff comedy, during which a pro like Martin can't even keep up. And no one can keep a straight face. Russell says during the film's closing credits that he's certain he's not going to make it through the scene--he can't even look at Martin Short.
Jiminy Glick in LaLaWood may not be the sharpest Hollywood satire in the canon of the genre, but there is most certainly nothing else like it. Or him. Unless of course, you drop into a film junket's grade-Z press roomâ€”you might see something like him there. Horrifyingly, that's no joke.
Read more Kim Morgan at her blog Sunset Gun