Playing pretend for a living
Likes: a good tribute show
Dislikes: Delusional people
Hates: Bad impersonators
The film puts the spotlight on a handful of acts, including impersonations of President Barack Obama, Kiss, Madonna, Lady Gaga, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Hugh Hefner and, of course, Elvis. They discuss their lives and their impersonations, with their separate stories tied together by their attendance at the convention. The concept of celebrity impersonation is fleshed out through their segments and montages of interviews with a variety of faux famous people, touching on what goes into a good tribute, what it's like to look famous but not be famous and the economic realities of the industry.
The other issue here is the lack of a unifying storyline. Yes, the convention ties them all together, but you could remove almost any of the subjects from the film (with the possibly exception of "Elvis" and "Bush", the film's two most interesting people) and it wouldn't be any worse for it. They aren't all competing for some grand prize or attending with some sort of greater purpose. They are just there for their business, which leaves the film as just a collection of profiles that rides on the interest level the viewer has in the personality being portrayed (especially in the home stretch, where the film slows down to show the performers "on the job".) Perhaps the concept was just better suited for the short film it was originally created as.
Just About Famous, arrives on one DVD, packed in a standard keepcase. The disc has an animated, anamorphic-widescreen menu with options to watch the film, select chapters, adjust the setup and check out the extras. There are no audio options, while subtitles are available in English.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 track does a fine job of delivering all the audio elements well and without distortion, keeping the voices of the subjects clear and easily understood, while the music (obviously a relatively frequent part considering the number of musical performers profiled) is nice and strong, to the point where I was slightly surprised that it was just a 2.0 track.
Just About Famous is an expansion of the directors' original short documentary (14:33) which is included here. Most of the footage made it into the feature film, though some subjects ended up with smaller roles, while the Obama imitator was replaced entirely with a different (better) version.
Also available to watch is the film's trailer (1:54), which naturally piles on the impersonations in selling the film.
As a fan of quality impersonators, there's no denying that meeting some new ones was a draw of Just About Famous, but getting into the minds of people who pretend to be other famous people was what the film needed to do to to be more interesting, especially with no overarching storyline to tie it all together. On the plus side, the film looks and sounds good, and tosses in a healthy amount of bonus content, making it more worthy of a look, even if the film doesn't come together the way you might hope.