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Avoid ‘Jiminy Glick’ at all costs

Martin Shorts’ satirical look at showbiz is totally unnecessary
/ Source: The Associated Press

A candidate for the year’s most unnecessary movie, Martin Short’s “Jiminy Glick in Lalawood” is crude without being funny and insiderish on Hollywood without being remotely satiric or insightful.

Based on Short’s “Primetime Glick” TV character, this could have been a nice spoof of celebrity journalism and the collusion of star-struck reporters who become willing participants in studio marketing machines.

Instead, it’s a painful bore that leaves plenty of time to ponder how many favors Short called in (and what bridges he may have burned) to snag Steve Martin, Susan Sarandon, Sharon Stone, Kevin Kline, Kurt Russell and others for cameos in this fiasco.

The screenplay is credited to Short and longtime collaborators Michael Short (his brother) and Paul Flaherty, but the filmmakers chose to go the Christopher Guest route, creating a story outline with the actors improvising their lines.

Despite such comic talents as Jan Hooks, Elizabeth Perkins, Janeane Garofalo, Linda Cardellini and John Michael Higgins (a veteran of Guest’s ad-libbed “Best in Show” and “A Mighty Wind”) line after line of outrageously delivered dialogue lands with a thud.

Watching these gifted performers bluster through Glickland is like seeing an endless parade of earnest kids do stinging belly-flops off the diving board at their school swimming pool. You really feel for their suffering.

Director Vadim Jean comes off as a passive onlooker, content to let the camera roll and capture whatever excruciating mayhem erupts in front of it.

The movie is set at the Toronto International Film Festival, a prime spot for Hollywood to showcase big fall films. Rotund Jiminy Glick (Short, unrecognizable tucked inside his fat suit), an obscure TV critic from Butte, Mont., shows up expecting to make his mark as a big-time celebrity interviewer.

Only no celebrities will talk to him. After snoozing through an epic by a brooding superstar (Corey Pearson) Jiminy is the only critic who gives thumbs up to the awful flick.

That earns him an exclusive sit-down with the elusive star, turning Jiminy into the hit of the festival as celeb after celeb rushes in to chat with the newest king of Hollywood’s journalism heap (sequences featuring Martin, Russell and others as themselves are agonizingly prolonged).

Jiminy’s new luster lands him in a potential murder scandal involving aging star Miranda Coolidge (Perkins), who may or may not have been snuffed while he lay beside her in bed in a drugged, drunken stupor.

The movie is more potty-mouthed and just plain grosser than TV’s Glick chronicles, with poor Hooks stuck in endless emissions of flatulence as Jiminy’s vulgar wife.

On the big screen, Jiminy is unlikely to win people who are not already fans of the TV version. Short’s bizarre intonations — from ponderous blowhard to hiccuping stammer to shrill falsetto — are an acquired taste at best.