Margaret Cho had one of the first Asian-American related television shows on American television but then she ran into the corporate TV programming elite who insisted that she change her looks. When she wouldn't or couldn't change they let her show dwindle and eventually end. Rather than attempt lawsuits or sulk about the experience Margaret developed a one-woman stand-up comedy routine surrounding the whole episode, called it "I'm the One That I Want." and went on tour.
The film is presented in a rather simply matter. It's just Margaret on stage doing her well-honed routine for 90 minutes. Working with a small crew the producers and the director (Lionel Coleman) captured her high-spirited routine in the best way possible And, rather astutely, they decided that Margaret's magnetic performance was more important than showy directorial flashes.
Stand-up comedy as therapy is great for the comedian - who can laugh as themselves - and for the audience - who can laugh with them. In this respect, I'm The One That I Want is similar in some ways to Julia Sweeny's God said Ha! albeit not with as serious an issue.
But Margaret has dealt with some of her own issues and in this forum she can let loose on subjects both racial and sexual that she couldn't on television.
Margaret lets it be known that she's a proud Korean American fag hag who had a brush with a medium that couldn't grasp her brilliance. I'm The One That I Want is a very good stand-up comedy film and even though it doesn't reach the ranks of Richard Pryor on the Sunset Strip or Eddy Murphy's Raw it still packs a punch and should produce at least a chuckle or two from anyone with a good sense of humor.
The DVD is presented in widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1 and looks excellent. The picture quality is sharp, the print is clean and the warm, dark hues of San Francisco's Warfield Theatre come across exceptionally well. There is no edge enhancement and no noticeable artefact that I could detect.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and sounds exemplary. Margaret can be heard loud and clear and so can the audience – which is very receptive to her every joke.
There are a fair amount of extra features. The best is a 40 minute Behind-the-Scenes Featurette, which goes in depth into Margaret's extensive tour and the making of the film. It's full of interviews with the producer, the director, the crew – who discuss the vicissitudes of shooting two live shows with no dress rehearsal – and, of course, Margaret who talks about the effort that went into this particular show. There is also a Producer's Commentary track by manager/ producer Karen Taussig, Lorene Machado and literary agent Christopher Schelling. They reveal a lot of what went on before and after the show and the impact that it has had on themselves, on Margaret and on her adoring audience. Even though it is quite good if you listen to the commentary after the featurette it will begin to feel a little like a testimonial. And too they should have turned up the commentary track because there is a problem hearing the comments over Margaret's routine. There is also one trailer a filmography and weblinks. The film is 95 minutes long and there are 28 chapters.
I'm The One That I Want has something for all fans of stand-up comedy: From racial and sexual jokes to unassuming self deprecation and biting insights into the phoniness of television. The DVD looks and sounds great and the extras give more than enough to make even the hardened skeptic a Margaret Cho fan.