When you go to a Robert DeNiro film, you go with high expectations. So I was very disappointed when I sat down for THE COMEDIAN and the movie was everything but funny. Now DeNiro has done comedy in other hit films like ANALYZE THIS and the FOCKERS movies. The problem with this movie is a weak script that none of the A List actors could salvage. Not even director Taylor Hackford, who directed RAY and THE DEVIL'S ADVOCATE, could keep this train on the track.
THE COMEDIAN had so much potential with an incredible cast like Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs), Danny Devito (Batman), Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) and supporting roles from comedians Jimmy Walker, Hannibal Buress, and comic actor Billy Crystal being wasted in a movie that's jokes were mostly about bodily functions. I don't know which was worse, suffering through this unfunny movie myself, or seeing one of my favorite actors, Robert DeNiro, having to suffer through it.
Leslie Mann (THIS IS 40) does the best job of pulling a decent performance out of this mess. She plays a woman who DeNiro meets while doing court ordered community service at a homeless shelter. The couple starts up a May/December romance that immediately hits a road bump when comedian Jackie Burke (DeNiro) meets the girls father (Keitel) at his birthday dinner. He wants Jackie to entertain him with some of his signature lines from his old 80's sitcom, Eddie's Home, and there is nothing Jackie hates more than being asked to relive the character in his old show.
Ironically, Jimmy Walker is one of the first comedians to appear in the movie. Walker, now 70, hates nothing more than to be reminded of his "Di-No-Mite" days on the old sitcom Good Times (and I'm referring to real life, not the movie). I can't help but think the actors in this movie just did it for a payday, or at least it felt that way to me. Show up, read your lines and pick up a check. They just mailed it in.
The movie lasts 1 hr and 59 minutes (two hours of my life that I'll never get back) and it's rated R for vulgar language and "poopy jokes." On my "Hollywood Popcorn Scale" THE COMEDIAN rates a SMALL.