After being released on parole, a burglar attempts to go straight, get a regular job, and just go by the rules. He soon finds himself back in jail at the hands of a power-hungry parole ... See full summary »
Interview-style biography of controversial and pioneering stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce. The film traces Bruce from his beginnings as a Catskills comic to his later underground popularity based on his anti-establishment politics and his scatological humor. Written by
Scott Renshaw <email@example.com>
This biopic about shock comedian Lenny Bruce was Bob Fosse's followup to his well-received 1972 film "Cabaret." I'm pretty sure that "Lenny" was a financial bomb, and I'm not surprised. It's a relentlessly depressing and ugly film, despite the stylish polish Fosse gives it. Anyone who has seen Fosse's last film, "Star 80," knows just how nihilistic this director could be, and "Lenny" shows evidence of that.
It is a fascinating film though, in its own way. Fosse uses a documentary-like approach, complete with black and white photography and a narrative device in which we see Bruce's long-suffering love (played heartbreakingly by Valerie Perrine, Lex Luthor's bikini-clad girlfriend in "Superman" ) telling Bruce's story to a filmmaker while the actual events themselves are played out as flashbacks. Fosse was fond of this confessional type of storytelling and would use it again in "All That Jazz" (1979). Dustin Hoffman is simply sensational as Bruce; he utterly disappears into this caustic character until no trace of Hoffman the actor is left. Technically, everything about the film is highly accomplished, but it's so desolately grim as to be off putting.
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