For years, I've been a fan of an actor named Frank Whaley.
He's sort of a "That Guy" actor, having appeared in dozens of movies, but never really getting famous. I don't quite know why I like him, either; he comes across as a bit of a dork, stammering and sputtering in an almost creepy way. He just kind of has a demeanor that reminds me of myself when I was a kid trying to swindle my parents out of (or into) something...and I find that oddly amusing to see on the big or silver screen.
I first noticed the "BSer" quality in Frank when I saw him as the weird roommate in The Freshman, starring Matthew Broderick (a solid film, by the way), around 1991. Not long after, Frank scored the lead role in John Hughes' Career Opportunities, a movie about a loser who gets locked in a Target department store overnight (also pretty good), and I felt like I related to that character even more. Frank also appears in a number of Oliver Stone films....
Anyway, below is my quick capsule review for The Jimmy Show, which Frank directed. It's somewhat similar to Scorsese's The King of Comedy, although not as good.
The Jimmy Show (2001)
Jimmy O'Brien works in the stockroom of a grocery store, where he is constantly reminded of his powerlessness. Only his love for his wife offers him comfort, but their obligations to his invalid grandmother and a new baby stifle their dreams. It is not until open-mike night at the local comedy club that he allows himself to do what he needs to do: run off at the mouth.
Now, this here is a depressing movie...even for depressed people.
There are plenty of men like Jimmy out there, and the rest of us are thankful we didn't end up as one of them. So, needless to say, watching the story of such a fellow can be a downer. There's no ray of hope here, and you'll realize that maybe halfway through. Jimmy's dreams always amount to nothing -- he has no real talents; and he's not especially intelligent. Just an average screw up who understands deep inside how pathetic he really is, and eventually has to accept it.
I recommend this film only to those who are either fans of Frank Whaley, or attracted to brutal, somber depictions of reality. Since I am both of those things, I actually rather liked The Jimmy Show. I found it intriguing. However, most others are probably better off staying away.
3 out of 5.