Looking for Lenny is an in-depth, controversial documentary that uses Lenny Bruce's legacy to explore the present condition of the fear of words and expression. It also tackles the issue of... See full summary »
Looking for Lenny is an in-depth, controversial documentary that uses Lenny Bruce's legacy to explore the present condition of the fear of words and expression. It also tackles the issue of new limitations that the government and society are placing upon freedom of expression in the artistic and political discourse. It speaks directly to recent attempts by political figures to instill fear into American society by labeling, manipulating, and inflaming people's fear of the spoken word. Written by
What is freedom of speech and how far can we go, pushing the envelope? These and many other questions is what director Elan Gale is trying to discuss and at same time do an documentary about Lenny Bruce. Unfortunately he fails at both mainly because of lack of focus, and also because others have done it better in the genre of documentaries.
Elan Gale gives hardly any info about the man, Lenny Bruce, nor does he explain what really drove Bruce to become one of the most beloved(and controversial) comics of our time.
When looking at other documentaries about controversial comedians like Bill Hicks (see American: The Bill Hicks Story 2009)we got a better understanding of the man and his legacy.
In Looking for Lenny (2011)we understand his importance but it is somewhat confusing exactly what he did and why he did it. We get lots of funny anecdotes but not many are relevant to what the film is trying to discuss.
When it comes to the discussion of freedom of speech the film fails to deliver again, since there are more interesting, nuanced documentaries about the subject. For example: Fück (2005), Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech (2009)and also above mentioned American: The Bill Hicks Story (2009)
But as an introduction to Lenny Bruce's comedy and legacy it is OK, and the following discussion about freedom of speech, political correctness etc this film serves it's purpose.
However, it should been so much better. Ironically, while trying to write this review, IMDb would not let me use the proper title for one of my film suggestions....which makes this films subject and other films like it so very important.
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