The Movie Waffler DVD Review - <i>The Comedian</i> | The Movie Waffler

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DVD Review - The Comedian

A struggling stand-up comic enters a relationship with a younger man.


Review by Troy Balmayer

Directed by: Tom Shkolnik

Starring: Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Brett Goldstein, Elisa Lasowski, Edward Hogg



"It’s in no way the worst film I’ve witnessed but it didn’t captivate me and even for a short film of one hour and 15 minutes the story chugs along like one of Ed’s awkward unfunny stand-up routines."


Don’t get fooled by the title; this film isn’t a comedy and not really much about comedians. If that displeases you then this is not the movie to stick with. The played down and poignant styled story of attractions and a life crisis is well done, but it doesn’t grip you or make you engage with what’s happening.
Ed, a telesales worker and budding comedian on the London stand-up circuit, encounters younger and more open Nathan. Ed struggles with the monotony of his job, the issues of a possible new relationship and the connection he shares with French singer Elisa.
The characters themselves are believable and each one is someone you could easily expect to either know or bump into one day. This definitely grounds the film; that realistic edge lets you feel this story come to life more but sadly there’s not much depth to the structure built up. Ed is grouchy, witty and complicated, Nathan is passionate and honest and Elisa is motivated and talented, but aside from this trio of normal scripted characters the plot suffers from tedium.
It’s in no way the worst film I’ve witnessed but it didn’t captivate me and even for a short film of one hour and 15 minutes the story chugs along like one of Ed’s awkward unfunny stand-up routines. A lot of the film is dialogue driven, and after a quick while the conversations sag and bore instead of hit home or inspire. There are too many shots of nothing going on, Ed grates more than he really should and the relationship side of his life is so up and down that you don’t care where it goes.
I admit the work aspect of Ed’s life was handled well; the dreariness of his attitude towards trying to gain sales and the slight comedy in the customers he speaks to is apt (maybe my background in telephone calling helped give life to the backdrop of his job). The initial meeting on the bus between Nathan and Ed is actually scripted or improvised really well and a sweet playful touch sparking from the get go helps the scene along. I just have to say it’s a shame the film didn’t do more or go anywhere more interesting with both its figures and narrative.
The plot simply ends after a sleep inducing conversation in a taxi and you wonder what you’ve been watching for the past 80 or so minutes. The side of the film that's bold enough to tackle the gay scene in London hits a fantastic peak when a group of ignorant teens slam homosexuals, but that’s one brilliant stroke and then it lulls again, searching for a gritty stamp on the theme of same sex romance but never quite finding it.
The Comedian may not fall hard enough to be a bad British film but it’s not memorable or great either. A less than so-so movie that offers up mostly unlikeable characters, dismal turning points and an unsatisfying stab at what was a chance of a good idea.