|Available at Amazon.com|
The peak of standup comedy was over two decades ago, when L.A’s famous Comedy Store was emulated en masse and stand ups were amongst the highest paid entertainers out there. The art of stand up is alive and well, but its prominence has fallen considerably. It’s always interesting to see funny people in unique situations, and that’s the main appeal of Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show. Take four comedians, a famous actor and a litany of famous people together for 30 days in a bus, doing 30 shows, and film the results.
The film follows four moderately known stand up comedians at the time of production (2005) – Sebastian Maniscalco, Ahmed Ahmed, Bret Ernst and John Caparulo. Vaughn thought it would be an interesting idea to get them all together for a stand up tour like Buffalo Bill Cody’s old Wild West show that brought legends of the West out for those in the East.
Joined in various cities by celebrity guests, it’s more of a documentary about the backstage than on the stage itself as we see snippets of performances as opposed to even 25% of a performance. And that’s ultimately the problem, as we don’t get enough stand-up performances in a documentary about stand-up performances. We get to know these men very well, but we don’t get to see them in action for the most part. It’s disappointing because we get to see them being funny outside of their jobs, which is to be funny, but the four (plus Vaughn) are interesting enough characters to make it worth the while.
The documentary itself is a bit scattershot, as the film has an awkward pace to it. The first several days take up a large chunk of screen time and yet the bulk of the tour is seemingly glanced over until they hit towards Vaughn’s home area in the Midwest. It seems rushed for the most part, as the film seems to be going for an extended run time and then compresses the middle act.
It’s interesting the choices in films Vince Vaughn has chosen since he became a star, but it’s more interesting to see act natural and relatively hilarious as opposed to doing another version of Trent from Swingers.
Presented in a Dolby Digital sound with a widescreen presentation, the film looks and sounds good. It’s not a great transfer or presentation because it was shot mainly on hand held cameras because it’s a documentary
There’s some Bonus Material included, which are mainly extended & deleted scenes from the film. You get to see and hear a lot more about these guys, as well as good chunks of their routines, but best piece is Long and Vaughn collaborating on a spoof of the opening number of Grease.
The Tour is a feature about how they put the film together. Putting it together after a charity show Vaughn was a part of, they planned the tour in about a month when the normal time was four times that. With several veteran music producers and promoters doubting the sanity of 30 days in a row, considering the average rock band will play 10 in a row at most, it’s interesting to hear them discuss why they wanted to do it and how Vaughn barely slept because of various promotions he did like going onto radio shows at 7am after getting to sleep not much before then.
The Making of Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show, as well as a Behind the Scenes feature, focuses on how the film was made. There’s nothing too much of note said in either feature about the film.
The film’s Theatrical Trailer, as well as Sneak Peeks for the theatrical releases of Journey to the Center of the Earth and Mama’s Boy as well as the DVD releases of Semi-Pro and Run, Fatboy, Run .
There’s also two Feature Commentaries. The first has Vaughn and executive producer Peter Billingsley, the second has the four comedians and director Ari Sandel on it.
With a lot of colorful moments, but not enough color itself, Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show is an interesting curiousity but nothing more.
New Line Home Video presents Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights – Hollywood to the Heartland. Directed by Ari Sandel. Starring Vince Vaughn, Ahmed Ahmed, Justin Long. Running time: 100 minutes. Rated R, Date of Release: June 3, 2008. Available at Amazon.com