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That's What I'm Talkin' About
The rub against comedian Bob Saget is that he's a complete sell-out, a filthy as Hell stand-up who gave his scatology the heave-ho so he could bank billions with two of the most family friendly outings in all of broadcast TV - the kiddie sitcom Full House and the VCR clip cavalcade America's Funniest Home Videos. Granted, few knew of his F- and C-bomb dropping tendencies before his tenure on each series ran its course, but once he was free of ABC and the Olson Twins, Saget went into toilet humor overdrive. He's done numerous specials and cable appearances where all he seemed interested in was making crude allusions and proving how "edgy" and "trendy" he was/is. His latest DVD release, That's What I'm Talking About, is another example of his too-cool-for-afterschool-special approach. It's as if Saget dares the audience to giggle at his snide semi-jokes about incest, pedophilia, feces, sex, jailbait, race, and religion. As a result, he becomes as derivative as a local shock jock, capable of only piling on the perversion without adding much creative commentary behind it.
Sure, some will find him hilarious. He can hit a funny bone now and then. When he's discussing his odd interactions with the cast of Full House, or referencing a guy who uses Saget's name has his Tourette's trigger, you can't help but enjoy. It's observational. It's drawn from his life. It's not some middle aged dude trying to reconfigure his reputation. In fact, when Saget strolls down memory lane, offering up visions of the Olson Twins or "Uncle Jesse" doing non-G rated things, it gives him a purpose. After all, one has to wonder what it would be like for someone trading in blue humor for a living to tone it all down and do the family friendly thing for over a decade. Those are the stories we want to hear, not tales of smelly crotches, wanton fantasies, and his ever increasing obsession with his groin. Now, this may sound like an old coot complaining about someone's scandalous material like its kids playing on his lawn, but the truth is, Saget isn't structured to be Andrew "Dice" Clay. Instead, he's a mainstream facade locked in a lewdness of his own creation.
Still, That's What I'm Talking About is a pleasant enough experience. It provides a certain level of laughter that, depending on your mood and the amount of THC you've ingested, should work out nicely on both ends. There are times - talking about his kids, riffing on being in relationships, struggling to survive outside the non-stop cult of Danny Tanner - where Saget scores. There are also moments when you groan in structural disgust. In many ways, his act is a lot like the story Eddie Murphy tells about mimicking Richard Pryor as a young comic. Without a necessary personal frame of reference or legitimate life experience, the teenage stand-up decided that the only thing he could justifiably talk about was going to the bathroom. Using is best fake Pryor voice, Murphy then proceeded to make joke after joke about sitting on the commode, dealing with constipation, and numerous other BM oriented quips. The thing was, he admits to looking - and being - horribly out of sync and place. Something about his age and the material just didn't mix. It's the same with Saget. He found his niche in the pre-PG department. Cranked up to NC-17, he's obnoxious.
Oh, and he sings a few songs as well. Perhaps it's best not to dwell on that for too long. One of the tunes appears to be an ode to a "butt plug made of leather."
As a Showtime special, the DVD tech specs are polished and professional. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen image is bright, colorful, crisp without being overly contrasted and directed in a way to showcase Saget against his relatively sparse stage setting. Don't expect to be wowed by visuals or mesmerized by filmmaking acumen and you'll enjoy the experience. On the sound side of things, the Dolby Digital 5.1 doesn't offer a lot of immersion, but the concert feel is captured well. Saget is always easy to understand, and when he decides to serenade us with his guitar, the mix is fairly uniform. As for added content, we are provided with an interview where Saget explains his sense of humor, discusses his reputation as a "good guy," and more or less welcomes the critique of his current "dirty" version. All in all, a solid DVD package for those still into said format.
Bob Saget has his fans. Most come from his days doing double duty for the American Broadcasting Company. A few remember his pre-precocious stand-up days, but many will wander this way to see just how naughty everyone's favorite TV father can be. They will either be pleasantly, or unpleasantly, surprised. As a result, this comedy cavalcade can only really be rated as a Rent It. Those who know what to expect will gladly soak up Saget's scat. Everyone else will see it as shock for shock's sake, nothing more.
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