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|Index||11 reviews in total|
This entertaining, informative documentary takes the concept of
"something good coming out of a negative situation" to the max:
Annabelle Gurwitch was fired from a play by none other than Woody
Allen, and rather than moving to Las Vegas and drinking herself to
death, she decided to turn the experience into art.
The film cleverly opens and closes in the style of a Woody Allen movie, complete with jazz music and his trademark stark black and white credits. In between, many "real life" people and celebs appear, some of them onstage in a production that Gurwitch created, and some in interview form, sharing their tortured stories of being canned from their positions, in show biz and otherwise, and who hasn't been fired at some point in their lives?
The movie is funny - the best comedy, after all, does come out of pain; humor, as we all realize, is one of the most effective coping mechanisms known to mankind - but the movie is more than merely amusing, it has depth. While not overtly political or heavy-handed like a Michael Moore joint, Gurwitch does include interviews with people who were fired by GM "through no fault of their own" - corporate restructuring crap - and government layoffs are included as well. This isn't a profound movie by any stretch, but it does have some good insights from real people about what it means to be out of a job.
This can declare it's a movie as much as it wants to and that doesn't
change anything. This is nothing more than a special to air between
movies on the Sundance channel. If that's true, it's more than an hour
As for what this is about: The lead gets fired from a Woody Allen play and needs the support of her friends support to move on. That's understandable but it's also a great setup for a bad sitcom. However, those friends are minor celebrities which might be somewhat interesting but it just ends up being annoying. All of the friends (as well as the lead) are trying to play the "pay attention to me" game. To make matters even worse, they're just complaining about their first jobs in such a way that you might think they don't know a lower class exists.
Annabelle Gurwitch is a character actress/comedienne who is not quite a
household name (unless that household has watched TBS' "Dinner & A
Movie" for the last decade), but has still crafted herself a more
successful career than most in her field. Her name may not be well
known, but the average movie goer or TV watcher probably see her and
think, "Oh yeah, she was in 'The Cable Guy'!" or "Wasn't she in that
Marisa Tomei episode of 'Seinfeld'?". Needless to say, she has made a
career playing supporting roles, but has not yet to my knowledge taken
on a lead role, or even made her own documentary.
For starters, she does pretty well with "Fired", a documentary that begins with her being fired from a Woody Allen play and expands itself from there. Gurwitch starts out by saying that being hired for a Woody Allen production is every actor's dream (which it probably is). The scene that comes next is of course inevitable given the title of the documentary, but still painful to hear. Naturally, Allen didn't make a cameo in this scene, but the Woody Allen stand in, the voice-over sound-alike, and Gurwitch's realistic reactions to Allen's supposed words were powerful elements to start this documentary off right.
From there, Gurwitch interviews a number of celebrities and asks them about the times they were fired, and so goes the rest of the film. Some of the insights are very funny, others are reassuring, and then there are some which fall a bit flat. I thought Gurwitch picked some great people to interview, such as Jeff Garlin and Tim Allen. The shots of Paul F. Tompkins and Illeanna Douglass performing live on stage were also good add-ins, and they were very funny.
With these commentaries, though, came the shifting of focus as to what this documentary was actually about. The documentary's subject was about the pain of being fired. Given how Gurwitch claimed to have been fired (i.e. because Woody Allen didn't think she was a good enough actress, not because of what she did), one would think the film would focus around how people were let go of their jobs despite their best efforts. However, as the film went on, you could see that some of the people being interviewed talked about how they got themselves fired intentionally from jobs they hated. That case was especially true for Andy Dick.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there should be a rule in film-making textbooks that if you put Andy Dick in a movie, there is a high probability it will suck. Andy Dick is not a good comedian, and is famous more for his outrageous (and often times off-putting) antics, drug use, sketchy behavior, and overall arrogance. Any employers who fired him were probably as annoyed by him as the members of SNL who blame him for Phil Hartman's death (as he allegedly supplied Hartman's wife with the supply of heroin that would ultimately be her last). His presence alone contributes nothing to this documentary.
Furthermore, the documentary loses itself to the subject of factory workers and others being laid off, and echos more of Michael Moore than Gurwitch probably intended to do. However, watching this after the recent stock market crash that led the U.S. into a recession, there is some really eerie truth that comes from the interviewed economists (including Ben Stein) which members of the Bush White House probably should have listened to before.
Above all, though, the documentary was pretty good. If there's anything to take away from it moral-wise, it's that being fired from anything is not the end of the world. Of course, any career service office could tell you that, but it's good to hear from moderately successful entertainers too. I just wish the movie would have ended with how Gurwitch herself moved on from such a career speedbump, and what kinds of projects she has coming up. It also would have been good to hear more about what she had accomplished before the Woody Allen incident for many moviegoers who don't know.
I recommend this movie for its entertainment value and for bringing up a subject more than a few people have experienced (myself included). I find myself torn between giving this film 6 or 7 stars, but I will give it seven stars since I enjoyed watching it.
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.
Annabelle Gurwitch has a certain amount of sadsack charm, but that's
not enough to carry an entire film that is mostly about comedians and
other performers who regale us with their ever-so-funny experiences
about getting fired.
This is a one-trick pony of a film that somehow pretends to have much deeper import -- i.e. 'downsizing in America,' which is a truly devastating problem affecting many millions of people in the U.S. and other Western countries. It's isn't light-hearted hilarity to be driven to the sidelines of society, perhaps never to return.
I think Gurwitch means well, but I kept wondering how many of the stories in this film were actual or imagined. Call me cynical (which I am, of course), but performers are trained (and paid) to be 'on,' to pretend they're someone else.
There's too much 'padding' in this film. The segments with the truly irritating Andy Dick, as just one example, should have been excised or at least shortened. Somebody, somewhere, once told Dick that he was funny and, alas, he took it seriously. And I've never seen Fred Willard, Jeff Garlin and Harry Shearer so UNfunny. How is that possible?
Nice try anyway.
Annabelle Gurwitch's take on getting fired from a play by Woody Allen. It's sort of a satirical documentary, opening with shots of New York in a spirited Allen parody, and then a scene with Gurwitch and an Allen impersonator acting out the firing. To this is added some bits by various comedians about work, getting fired, depression, and surviving getting fired. There are lots of people more or less in the business either performing in a show Gurwitch devised doing riffs on getting fired. Some celebrities are interviewed, or something, and some of them are really quite funny. Gurwitch consults some scary specialists and interviews people she's encountered at open-houses for the recently fired. Toward the end there are some serious points made by economists about the collapse of companies taking thousands of jobs while executives leave with ten million. Disgusting, the man says. The last ten minutes offer a lot to think about, and so Gurwitch manages to sneak social commentary into her movie. And then back to funniness.
** (out of 4)
After being fired from a play by Woody Allen, actress Annabelle Gurwitch turned the experience into a stage play as well as this documentary that takes a look at what it's like to be fired. Gurwitch tells her story and we get appearances from other famous people who share their stories of being let go from their jobs. Some of these people include Tim Allen, Andy Dick (shock), Illeana Douglas, Sarah Silverman, Fred Willard, Andy Borowitz, Fisher Stevens, Jeffrey Ross and Richard kind. I think there might have been a good idea somewhere in the story but sadly FIRED! isn't nearly as funny or charming as it thinks it is. I think there are several problems with the biggest one being that the film bounces back and forth between silly, over-the-top comedy and then it tries to take some sort of serious look at being fired. At just 72-minutes the film seems to go on even longer because we get some pretty boring and silly scenes like when Gurwitch is talking to her Rabbi about being fired by Woody Allen and we get another bit where she talks to a grief councilor. Towards the end of the film we start to get more dramatic tellings including the issues in Detroit where thousands of people have lost their jobs to save companies money yet the companies give their CEOs raises. The entire film just feels very uneven and the mix and comedy and drama doesn't work. Plus, it doesn't help that the majority of the time the comedy doesn't work. We basically get celebrities talking about what they did to get fired and while watching most of them I kept asking myself why I should care. Even the main story, Gurwitch getting fired, seems to be a forced issue because if it wasn't Woody Allen who fired her then she really wouldn't have a story or a message. It's because she got fired by a famous person that allowed her to make this. It's too bad she couldn't have interviewed Allen.
I took a chance on watching this documentary and it was well worth it.
Admittedly, the first 20 minutes (out of 72) are a bit dull, but then
it picks up significantly.
The experiences, insights and perspectives from those who have been fired were fascinating. Although most of the interviewees are from the movie industry, their openness and humor provided universal insight and comfort that can be appreciated by all. Plus, there were some great segments with a former human resource manager, executive placement director, various politicians, and others.
Since all most everyone in the film is discussing past (vs. current) situations, it was uplifting to see that "being fired" is a simple fact of life and that people routinely go through this experience and continue onwards. There were also quite a number of insightful thoughts and "words of wisdom" that come across.
Now, the show was not quite "perfect" - there was time wasted on watching people like "Andy Dick" and Richard Kind act zany. However, I think this movie is definitely worth watching if you are curious about the subject of firing.
I am a comedy/stand up fan from way back and am always on the lookout for a good film to add to my collection. I actually bought this DVD thinking that it was a comedy film containing some big stand up names. I was attracted by Sarah Silverman's name on the cover and also the reference to Woody Allen. Sarah appeared for a full 60 seconds and Woody, well he never appeared at all. Even Sarah looked confused - no really! The Director obviously couldn't work out whether to make a serious film or a comedy film and unfortunately has failed at both. Overall I consider the film a fraud. My newly purchased copy is now sitting in the trash can but at least I have a new DVD cover.
This is my first ever comment on a film and I was compelled by my
conscience to sign up and post this as a penance for having watched
I found nothing entertaining , remotely funny, or even watchable in this mess. In fact it made me feel like my existence must be pathetic for actually spending part of my time watching this drivel.
The only reason I attempted to watch it was the title and quite frankly I feel cheated. I could think of several interesting treatments of being fired but this one was the most disappointing of my movie watching experience (1287 to date). It makes my top ten worst films ever list at #1.
It really amazes me that people invested in this and didn't pull the plug before they lost all their money.
I'm kicking myself for watching as much of it as I did.
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