Thursday, November 15, 2007

Danny Roane: First Time Director


I'm usually not brave enough to watch the movies that premiere on Comedy Central, and until this week I didn't think I ever missed anything good. Andy Dick's Danny Roane: First Time Director premiered in August on the cable channel, came out last week on DVD, and is one of the funniest movies I've seen this year. It's 84 minutes of completely low-brow, low-budget, low-intelligence humor, and I was laughing the entire time.

Written and directed by Dick, it's a documentary about burnt out former sitcom star Danny Roane's attempts to make "Dead Dream," a semi-autobiographical look at the harrows of drug and alcohol addiction. After starring in the sitcom "Don't Quit Your Day Job," Roane hit rock bottom with his drinking problem, culminating in a disastrous drunken appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. He sees directing as the logical next step, and his surreal script is set to be produced by Quad Gold Pictures, where head man Pete Kesselman (Bob Odenkirk) boasts about their last hit, Vicious Cycle 3: Killer Load, a laundromat horror flick. The fact that Odenkirk is in Danny Roane told me the movie had a chance to be good, and there are plenty of other great cameos, including Ben Stiller, Danny Trejo and Jack Black.

Since it's a mockumentary, there's very little narrative structure, and Dick is able to keep the joke pace high. Most of the time it seems Dick is just doing improv, and it usually works. Dick's brand of vulgar slapstick is divisive, but if you like him then you'll love him in this, as I can't imagine a better vehicle for his comedy. But the biggest star of Danny Roane is the movie within the movie, "Dead Dream." Originally designed to be a stark look at addiction with James Van der Beek in the lead, the movie quickly devolves into a musical based on Jim Morrison-like flashbacks. Trejo plays the Indian chief who instructs the main character to go on a spiritual quest, but as Roane points out, Trejo the Indian chief has a huge tattoo on his chest of a Mexican woman praying.

Danny Roane is often sloppy, with some uneven moments, but the best is saved for last when we get to see the finished product of "Dead Dream." It contains my favorite line of the year, when a character tries to describe how his head is feeling on drugs: "It feels like my mind is made of Hitler." This line leads to a lengthy musical scene of a bad Hitler impersonator stalking a Jewish clown through city streets. Like I said, it's 100 percent dumb, low-brow comedy, but if that's what you go for try and find Danny Roane.

2 comments:

Piper said...

Adam,

You're putting yourself out there on this. A TV movie starring Andy Dick? But you know what, I'm sold. I might be in the minority, but I like Andy Dick. I love him in ever Comedy Central Roast there is so I think I might be there right beside you on this one.

Adam Ross said...

It's definitely not for everyone, but if you like Andy Dick (as do I), then seek it out. I was expecting very little out of it, but I'm still laughing at some of the gags.