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HECKLER is a comedic feature documentary exploring the increasingly critical world we live in. After starring in a film that was critically bashed, Jamie Kennedy takes on hecklers and critics and ask some interesting questions of people such as George Lucas, Bill Maher, Mike Ditka, Rob Zombie, Howie Mandel and many more. This fast moving, hilarious documentary pulls no punches as you see an uncensored look at just how nasty and mean the fight is between those in the spotlight and those in the dark. Written by
All You Need Is Hate
Written by Stewart Henderson, Emma Pollock, Paul Savage and Alun Woodward
Performed by The Delgados
Published by Chrysalis Songs (BMI)
Courtesy of Mantra/The Beggars Group See more »
I want to try to be as fair to this film as possible, because it's clear from the comedians interviewed in this film that criticism from anyone can be taken very personally.
Since this film isn't about hecklers so much as it is film critics (it's a bait and switch), let's address the latter. Comedies in general have always been held, fairly or unfairly, to the same standards by most movie critics as an Oscar nominated Meryl Streep film. And that is unfortunate. I can be guilty of the same comparisons. However, I don't see that changing anytime soon, and as long as Adam Sandler's target audience remains 12 year old boys, many critics are not going to recommend his films. Sure there may be a caveat ("If you're a pre-teen...") but generally, critics are looking to recommend films not to genre-specific buffs or age groups, but to all audiences (unfortunately this isn't really examined in this documentary).
"Heckler" takes an almost defeatist approach at the hands of film critics when actually there is a solution. Using eBay or even IMDb as a prototype, the buyer and sellers on ebay, and the critics here on IMDb are graded by the readers or themselves, thus helping to weed out unnecessary incendiary and non-constructive deals and/or reviews. Does it work for movie reviews? Do audiences have a way to grade Roger Ebert or Leonard Maltin? No, but it's likely to happen very soon.
I would compare the current film critic industry to the news media in general before profiteering became so prominent post Cronkite. The news media and their personalities have nearly lost any and all respectable viewers. Bill O'Reilly draws 4 million viewers to win his 8:00 time slot. But that's only 1/4 of 1 percent of the population. The 4th estate has been so inept, and the difference between "experts" with special interests so intertwined, that's it's taken Jon Stewart to create what I've been calling "The 5th Estate" to police the 4th estate, because they haven't been doing their job of working for the public, but rather the government, special interests or themselves. And that's where I see the process of film criticism heading--toward a state of viewers policing and correcting, if necessary, critics reviews.
I like Jamie Kennedy based on what I saw from "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment". I haven't seen any of his films but they don't appear to be targeted at me. There's a place for silly farce, slapstick and toilet humor (The Farrelly Brothers...) And there's a place for very sharp dialog comedies with small but adult themes like "The 40 Year Old Virgin", "Superbad" and "The Hangover". Unfortunately, Kennedy's film fall into the former category, and it's difficult to gain traction among critics who only want to recommend films to wider audiences than the 12-18 year old demographics in the Adam Sandler vein.
"Heckler" is not a documentary I would recommend because it's filmed to be more of a defensive commentary on Kennedy's movies (or at least a cathartic release for Kennedy to confront his critics) than anything constructive about critics of comedy--which ironically and to it's own point, is self-defeating. The day will come when the poison arrows are graded. Jamie Kennedy is not for everyone, but that's OK, and great! But like Sandler and even Vince Vaughn, David Spade, Tina Fey etc... he needs to realize this himself, and the sooner the better.
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