Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fantastic Fest 2012 Review: THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER ROLLED

Directed by: Ryan Polito
Starring: Doug Benson and Graham Elwood
Synopsis: Doug Benson decides to make a movie about going on tour to make money to make a movie about going on tour. 

Comedian Doug Benson has a fun little podcast called Doug Loves Movies, where guests play silly movie games that Doug himself created. Doug also does some stand-up wherever he tapes his podcast, so it's like a two for one deal when you're in the audience. When Morgan Spurlock released SUPER SIZE ME, Doug took it upon him to use the same experiment of 30 straight days, except instead of eating McDonald's, he smoked weed and created SUPER HIGH ME. Now, since Spurlock released the meta documentary THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD, Doug follows his lead with the copycat-ish, THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER ROLLED.

Benson decides to mimic Spurlock's idea and tries to make a movie about him and his buddy, Graham Elwood, as they go on tour to try to make money to create a film about going on tour. Still with me? The bulk of the film just follows Elwood and Benson around from town to town as they perform their comedy acts. If you enjoy their material, then that part never gets dull. These guys aren't huge, so there's no Madison Square Garden performance, but rather they play smaller-big cities, like Oklahoma City.  Interspersed are moments with Benson as he enjoys some smokey, herbal refreshments; sometimes fans offer to smoke with him and sometimes he smokes with owners of the places he performs at.

However, unlike Spurlock, Benson's film never reaches a deeper level. Benson never delivers on anything more than just hanging out and performing with his best friend. Maybe he didn't want anything more than that? Then why say you want to make a documentary based on the idea of another director? That doesn't take away from the light-heartedness of the film, but Benson doesn't need a shtick to make a comedy documentary. At one point towards the end of the film, it reminds you why they first started making the movie about making money to make a movie. But at that point, it is too late. We've already forgotten the reason why.

The film works best when it shows the not so glamorous side of being on the road as a comic. The places they go and characters they meet are almost unwritable they're so funny. The highlight was a bar/comedy club owner who gets on a bit of a soap box about time management and responsibility. It's quite lovely and hilarious.

ROLLED doesn't break any barriers or answer any deep existential questions. It's a sweet little documentary about two buddies making a living in their dream job. Oh, and they smoke...a lot. The extent in which you will enjoy this film is the extent in which you enjoy Doug Benson's or Graham Elwood's stand up routines.

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