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The Aristocrats (Unrated)

Release Date: July 29th,2005 (NYC-Loews Lincoln Square and Regal Union Square 14) by THINKfilm.
Directed by Paul Provenza.

  BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about a secret joke among well-known comedians that must start with “A guy walks into a talent’s agent office…” and end with “…the Aristocrats”, but in between it must have anything disgusting and perverse as possible.

  ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: There is something mildly entertaining about watching once pure and wholesome comedians like Bob Saget become perverse and foul-mouthed. Even Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams get their chances to be offensive. The most offensive comedian though turns out to be Saget, who mentions every type of bodily fluid in his “joke”. The real question, though, is whether or not the joke itself is funny. The answer depends on presentation much more than content. As George Carlin says, the real punch of the joke is in the perverse surprises—many of which are sexual. This kind of shock can induce heavy laughter and it often does in this film. There is one truly hilarious scene when a mime tells the joke with his hand gestures and other bodily movements in front of strangers on the street. Gilbert Gottfried is surprisingly funny when he tells his version. Eventually, there is so much perversity that it no longer becomes shocking. However, it is still funny thanks to the amazing energy and bold presentations by the many talented comedians. A very guilty pleasure as long as you don’t mind the jokes crossing any of your boundaries.

  SPIRITUAL VALUE: It takes a lot of confidence and courage to be comfortable with saying anything as perverse as the jokes in this film. Imagination also helps, too. Unfortunately, the joke itself is not analyzed profoundly enough to answer the question of why it is told in the first place or why it makes so many people laugh. By the end of the film, the joke is simply offensive and just seems out of place—it would even seem wrong to tell it among friends. It would have been more thought provoking if Provenza would have interviewed laughter specialists who would definitely have something profound to add.

  INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Not enough interviews that truly examine the sick Aristocrat joke.


  THE BOTTOM LINE: An often hilarious, disturbing, and offensive documentary that lacks any profound insights or analysis but at least it has enough talented comedians who know how to make you laugh no matter how perverse their joke content is.

  RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Very open-minded adults- Movie Theater (1st Run) Everybody else- Never

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