“The Comedian” shows the steady decline of Robert De Niro

Directed by Taylor Hackford, “The Comedian” shows audiences the life of an aging, insult comic named Jackie Burke (Robert De Niro). Sadly, the movie almost mirrors the recent string of films De Niro himself has been involved with.

With heavy reliance on his loyal manager Miller (Edie Falco), Jackie is taking a beating with his attempts to adjust to the new age of comedy. A comedy purist and a man of the ‘old school’, YouTube and Vine reflected a new social-norm he just couldn’t agree with.

To add to his grievance, he’s remembered more for his time on a late 70s TV show than for his standup comedy.

After a run-in with the law, Jackie is forced to do community service at a food kitchen. This is where he meets a younger woman named Harmony (Leslie Mann). Now, Harmony is much younger than Jackie but like the masses, she remembers him for his time on television. They get a long fairly well and enjoy a few moments together but cannot avoid the inevitable disapproval from her father Mac (Harvey Keitel).

The film is top-heavy with names like Danny DeVito, Billy Crystal, Gilbert Gottfried, and Brett Butler. So as you can probably tell, this is a serious nod to the old-school.

The problem with this film is that it really doesn’t have a direction. At various points you could see it had the potential to go left, but then it goes straight. Then you feel it might go up, and instead of staying in that lane, it peers to the right and spirals downward.

The movie had zero pace to it. The movie is a painful two hours in length, which is far too long for a movie without continuous humor or action. It’s a film that the 55+ crowd might enjoy, but to that effect, it moves so slow that they might use this film for an afternoon nap.

Sadly, for a movie titled “The Comedian,” you probably won’t be laughing much. Especially when you see how much time you have left to endure the painfully slow death of De Niro and co. “The Comedian” gets a 5 out of 10 from me. It has its moments, but you can have your moment too; on demand.

 

-Jon J.

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