When actress Annabelle Gurwitch was fired from a play by Woody Allen, she wondered how she would cope with being downsized by a cultural icon. Turning to friends in show business, she was assured she was not alone. Everyone she knew, from her rabbi to her gynecologist, had their own account of getting the boot. Featuring interviews with comedians, economists and regular working folks, and drawing on her hugely popular book, Fired! is a humorous look at downsizing in America. Written by
They say that when life hands you a lemon, you make lemonade. Well, that's pretty much what actress/comedienne Annabelle Gurwitch did when she was summarily fired from a Woody Allen play. She turned her experience first into a successful stage show, and then into a feature-length documentary, appropriately entitled "Fired!"
Gurwitch uses this film not merely as therapy for herself but as a means of comforting other people who have experienced the same situation. In wildly funny terms, the filmmaker reenacts the euphoric moment when she first heard that she had been hired by the great director, then the personally devastating scene when she was dismissed from the production, and finally the initial dark days of depression immediately following the canning. She then chronicles the proactive steps she took to convert her sour experience into a sweet-tasting personal triumph. After seeking solace and advice from an assortment of friends, therapists and clergy (also reenacted here), she decided to delve into other people's stories about being fired and to use them as material for a stand-up comedy stage show of which she herself was the host. When that turned out to be a hit, Gurwitch decided to make a documentary film about the experience.
In the movie, she interviews well-known comic celebrities such as Fred Willard, Anne Meara, Tim Allen, Andy Dick, Illeana Douglas and others on their experiences of losing a job and provides snippets of her stage show as well. She also sets up a booth at a local job fair to hear the firing stories of some of the people there. Towards the end of the movie, Gurwitch launches her own Michael Moore-style investigation into some of the dismissal practices of massive corporations like GM, and interviews people whose job it is to "soften the blow" of firing.
With this small but entertaining film, Gurwitch and her comic buddies gently apply the healing balm of laughter to one of the most painful aspects of human life.
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