Celebrity interviewer Jiminy Glick (Martin Short’s alter ego from the now defunct Comedy Central show Primetime Glick) has a voice that sounds like he simultaneously swallowed a squirrel and a whoopee cushion. The pride of Butte, Mont., his interviews possess all the insight and tact of a Barbara Walters’ special if the late Chris Farley were running the show.
There’s not really a plot, but that doesn’t matter. Essentially, there’s something about a celebrity murder, the Toronto International Film Festival and director David Lynch (with Short doing a dead-on, hilarious impersonation). It’s all as inconsequential as it is absurd, as the whole point of the movie is to showcase Glick’s interviews.
Using just a shell of a script, Short and co-stars (including SNL alums Jan Hooks and Janeane Garofalo) improv most of the movie. The red-carpet interviews and schmoozing scenes were shot at real Toronto events. The improv kept the costs low, but also kept the vibe fresh and off-the-cuff, true to what you got on the TV show. Glick gets face time with scads of celebs, although Short no doubt had a little help from friends like Steve Martin, who sits down for a one-on-one with the chirpy and spastic interviewer. Glick also works his magic on Whoopi Goldberg (whom he calls Oprah), Forest Whitaker (whom he calls Forrest Gump), Kevin Kline, Sharon Stone and Susan Sarandon, among others.
At the same time, even with hilarious improv vets on board, the movie is rife with stale jokes and moments better left off camera, namely all of Hooks’ sex and flatulence gags.
Even the jokes that hit won’t work for everyone. Many are meant for film-savvy types who can appreciate the imagery ripped from Lynch’s filmography, as well as the jabs at festival culture and art house drivel. (One of the best: Glick attends a screening of a film called Growing up Gandhi that details his early years as a boxer.)
Still, as crude and uneven as Jiminy Glick and his movie can be, Short stretches his sketch character just far enough to make for an amusing and even occasionally rip-roaring feature.
Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.