I came into Gabriel Iglesias' stand-up special Aloha Fluffy with two things: I had barely any knowledge of his comedic work, but I knew of him from his appearance in the Channing Tatum pseudo biopic Magic Mike. So why not use my familiarity with the latter to help improve the former? And that is the genesis for checking out Iglesias in Aloha Fluffy.
Recorded at the Hawaii Theatre, Iglesias comes out to the stage to the dulcet notes of "Don't Stop The Party," the Pitbull-penned song found frequently in beer commercials. What struck me first about the guy who promotes "Unity Through Laughter" as a motto, one of the first riffs he goes into onstage is examining the life between the more anglo-centric tourist components of Hawaii, and compares it to the local's interpretation of it. Points to Iglesias for what turns out to be a pretty good grasp of pidgin at least.
From there on out, Iglesias spends approximately 90 minutes touching on various aspects of his life, whether it is trying to avoid the hamstringing of his work as a â€˜latino comic,' to the ordeal of raising a teenaged stepson, to performing in Riyadh for a Saudi prince. He juggles all of the stories with rapid fire impressions of all of the relevant people, and good on him for doing a Saudi Navigator driver and his girlfriend, among a bevy of other people he comes in contact with. He does a good job in setting the picture and drawing the viewer into what happened in these stories.
The funny thing is that when it comes to the ends of these stories, the payoffs tend to not live up to the backgrounds he illustrates. Moreover, the set just comes off as a flat to me. Perhaps that is where I suffer from a bit of a disconnect as a married, childless white guy, I don't know. I admire the effort and respect the game, but I did not enjoy it as much as the crowd did, and I was left to wonder what the general fuss was all about. Iglesias knows who his audience is and is loyal to them, and that makes me respect his work, even if I do not appreciate it.
While Gabriel Iglesias proves to be a semi-decent actor, where he really cuts his teeth is in the stand-up comedy world, as Aloha Fluffy attempts to show us. As a newcomer to his work I think it has its moments, but he seems to be another in a line of comics who does work exclusively for his fans without branching out much more past that. It works for him, not as much for me, but maybe I need some "Hey Juice."
The show is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and in high-definition using the AVC codec. There are not a lot of colors presented in the palette; you've got Iglesias' Hawaiian shirt, set against the dark backdrop of the stage, and crowd shots interspersed into it, basically your standard stand-up camera shots. The colors look natural and the black levels are generally stable. Flesh tones are accurate and image detail is about what could be expected. It is fine, nothing special.
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround for the special. It was not wholly necessary to be sure, but what is here is fine. Dialogue is well-balanced in the center channel, and crowd noise is clear in the rear channels and provides for a modestly immersive listening experience. Subwoofer activity and directional effects are at a minimum, but it was to be expected for this spoken word joint. You can't ask for more than what this track provides.
Quite a few extras for a standup comedy disc, a pleasant surprise. Things start with a Behind the Scenes look at the special (24:42) which shows him explain why he picked Hawaii as a venue, and shows Iglesias and his touring crew get to Hawaii, do promotion for the show, and doing a USO show for some Marines on the island. He flies to Maui and spends some time there and does another show before coming back to do the taping. The day after has the crew blowing off some steam, including a â€˜pancake challenge' where willing members of his crew attempted to eat four pounds of pancakes for $5,000 out of Iglesias' pocket, which was a funny challenge to be sure. Next is an encore by Iglesias (16:04) where he talks about landing the role in Magic Mike and a funny encounter with Matthew McConaughey. Some footage of one of Iglesias' opening act, a guy named Alfred Robles (7:46) follows, before the clip of him recalling his first time having malasadas from Leonard's Bakery (a Hawaii favorite, and they are all that) is the last extra (2:03).
While Aloha Fluffy was not my particular cup of tea, it is clear is following is as ample as his pant size, and he does have a knack for telling stories in the vein of a young Bill Cosby, and others will enjoy his work. Technically the disc is solid and from a bonus material is not horrible, and the entire package is worth checking out for a laugh if one seeks it out hard enough.