Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Friday, January 28, 2005

Pauly Shore is dead, but funnier than ever

Pauly Shore is Dead (2003)
Starring: Pauly Shore, Todd Bridges, and a host of other known faces
Director: Pauly Shore
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

With his career beyond hope of salvage, comedian Pauly Shore decides to fake his own death since, as his guardian angel--Sam Kinison--tells him, "it's better to be a dead genius than a live idiot." And, sure enough, once he is believed dead, Pauley goes from entertainment industry pariah to highly praised genius who everyone suddenly misses.

"Pauly Shore is Dead" is a comedic and bitter look at the fickleness of the public and the entertainment industry and a commentary on how quickly fortunes turn for those in the spotlight. Written, directed, produced, and starring Shore as himself, it is a venomous toward just about everyone, including Pauly Shore's own fans, who are represented by a family of shack-dwelling retards.

The film's biggest weakness is that it suffers from a voice problem. In many parts of the film, it's clear that we are watching performers doing comedy--even self-mocking comedy. At other times, the film takes on a documentary feel, like "This is Spinal Tap" or "Drop Dead Gorgeous." This lack of focus keeps viewers from getting involved with the simple story of the film, so while it's hard not to feel sympathetic toward someone who only wants to be liked, there isn't enough cohesion for the viewer to get involved with Pauly until the film's almost over. (And, having had a brief taste of fame myself, I can perhaps relate to where Shore is coming from than most people... and even *I* was not feeling particularly interested for most of the film.)

I get a sense that maybe Shore has a future as a filmmaker. I think he'd do well trying his hand at a true faux documentary (like "Best of Show" or "A Mighty Wind" or the two aforementioned films). "Pauly Shore is Dead" was at its best when it had that sort of feel to it, and it was at its weakest when it strayed into obviously staged bits (even if one of the funniest moments in the film was of that category... when Pauly meets Rico Suave who has been reduced to selling oranges on a highway overpass).

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