Tag Archives: HBO

Life’s Too Short

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have done it again, this time exploiting the little people. Or as they like to be called, dwarfs. The dwarven kind in this mockumentary are represented by Warwick Davis, dwarf star extraordinaire. In a fake and awkward version of his true life, Warwick Davis explores what it’s like to have no work, a divorce, and unending amount so debt. And I laughed through every second of it.

Thanks to HBO, this show and Ricky Gervais’ Animated Podcast were brought to my

Let the awkwardness ensue.

attention at the same time. I love both of them and this show was just quicker to finish (other review coming shortly). Life’s Too Short follows Warwick Davis, the person and the character, around for 7 episodes seeing just what kind of mischief he gets into in his typical life. But this isn’t your average Warwick Davis, the lovable Wicket Ewok we see when he was 11 in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. This is something more horrendous.

Now that’s a great pic.

Warwick in this show is a selfish, deceitful, and overall poor sport actor down on his luck. He feels his fame should be giving him more than it is right now and he won’t let anyone get in his way. He has small man syndrome (and appropriately so) and is always offended by midget. I have a fear of midgets usually (saw Chucky too early and connected the two) but when it’s Warwick Davis, you have to love him.

I mean, look at his career. There’s Star Wars, The BBC specials of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series, and the amazing Leprechaun series (I love it and always will. Too funny and classic.) The 10th Kingdom, my favorite, and the Harry Potter series as Flitwick, the Charms Professor. He has a better and more lucrative career than a lot of little people, and people love him for that. I haven’t seen Willow yet (a running joke in the

The creators shunning the little guy. Classic.

show) but I damn well plan on watching it now.

This show highlights everything that Gervais and Merchant wanted to do in The Office. After meeting Warwick in Gervais’ Extras, they started talking about this project. With my hopes up for more than a Christmas Special (come on Season 2…) I really enjoyed this awkward social situational comedy from the masters.

Rosamund Hanson. She’s got nothin goin on… upstairs.

Every episode hits you harder than the last, with some great star appearances thrown in. I must say, I don’t like Johnny Depp, but in this show he really knows how to make fun of himself. Liam Neeson was hilarious (although unintentionally), and Sting was just a dick. I loved Warwick’s dimwitted assistant, Cheryl (Rosamund Hanson) and everything she said and how she said it was pure comic gold. I know it’s wrong to think that when Warwick falls over during the show is the funniest part, but it’s one of those old gags you never get tired of seeing. Warwick himself was funny, but he knows how funny it is for a little person to struggle in normal everyday things.

Critics said this show was too awkward and similar to The Office that Gervais and Merchant were just getting lazy. Sure they were lazy. But they were lazy with a formula that was going to work from the

The toilet troll emerges!

beginning no matter what. I sincerely relish awkward moments in TV and movies (especially real life) and seeing a show that focuses on it to the point of painful, that’s spot on comedy. The drier and darker the better. Although I did at some points want Warwick to win some of the moments in life, it just wasn’t in the cards. Oh well, you win some, you lose most.

So with an awkward show like this and a dwarf who can poke fun at themselves, it’s fun to watch a car wreck comedy. Don’t wanna look, but can’t stop. Oh, and here’s the real Warwick for ya, just so you know where he’s coming from. Enjoy just like I enjoyed Series 1. 8.6 out of 10.

 

 

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The Dictator: An Actual Plot from Sacha Baron Cohen

I would say I’ve been a pretty big supporter and follower of Sacha Baron Cohen since his Ali G Show days. I loved all his characters when I watched it on HBO and to see them grow into full length movie characters is wonderful. Borat was a wonderful undercover comedy film. Then he followed that up with Bruno, my favorite of his alternate egos. And then, from all this talk about Hussein, Kim Jong-Il, and Gaddafi comes Admiral General Hafez Aladeen. His ability to focus in on one idea that plagues people’s prejudices and preconceived notions on the world around them is spot on as usual. But this one comes with a twist.

Aladeen (Cohen) is a dictator from the North of Africa. In the sweltering heat and tossing sands (a la Hussein), Aladeen lives his life as dictator in luxury. His WMD’s are coming

Aladeen and his majestic hawk, in luxury.

along, he has an all female amazonian entourage and guard, and his palace is so gigantic and wonderful, especially with his fleet of golden Hummers. He’s had sex with everyone (including the great Schwarzenegger. Megan Fox makes an appearance. I wasn’t surprised.) and he is an unforgiving ruler. He sends so many people to death that it’s expected.

As I expected Megan Fox to be in a situation like this…

And then, with the U.N. meeting in NYC looming, Aladeen is kidnapped and tortured. Clayton (John C. Reilly) is a forgiving CIA operative and lets Aladeen off with a shaven face (and then he accidentally burns to death). Stuck in America with only his wits and nobody who believes he’s the real thing, Aladeen’s uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) is planning on making Wadiya into a democratic country with the ability to sell their oil. Aladeen must stop them and keep Wadiya a dictatorship. This is the only time you’ll see a dictator as the hero/protagonist (unless you’re watching a film in their country, then probably you will).

This movie is full of a bunch of funny satirized stereotypes and Middle Eastern humor. As usual, Cohen self deprecatingly attacks his Jewish heritage once again. The Chinese law of one child per family is attacked with the baby birthing scene (as seen in the trailer) and masturbation has never been so patriotic. Sacha Baron Cohen is rather tame in this film in

The Man.

comparison to others, only one or two penises on screen and a handful of sexual references (unless you mention the Saw like birthing canal scene).

I really hoped this happened on the streets of NYC.

There’s a great supporting cast of cultural ecclesiastics  in this film. There’s Ben Kingsley, using his darker complexion to play a Middle Eastern man in this film. I’m always surprised when he pops up in comedies. Jason Mantzoukas plays Nadal, the weapons expert and friend to Aladeen in this movie. This man of Greek descent has been doing comedies for a while now and this is just another one. Bobby Lee rears his freaky head in this movie as a U.N. representative who can get a B.J. from whatever celebrity he wants (insert Ed Norton cameo here). His outrageous nature is made for this movie, and that dude will do anything to strip down into a thong. And one of my favorite appearances was Adeel Akhtar as one of Aladeen’s posse, Maroush. Throw in Fred Armisen and the revitalization of Anna Faris’s career as the love interest hippy, Zoe, and you got yourself a satirical comedy.

The best scene.

I really don’t think there’s anywhere that Sacha Baron Cohen won’t go. His terrorist attack scene in the tours helicopter is hilarious. Ironically, he and Jason Mantzoukas are speaking Hebrew. This points out the fact that a lot of languages, although all different may sound similar to an American audience. And all the iconic songs that he turned into an Aladeen medley! Everybody Hurts, 9 to 5, Let’s Get it On, how much that the way the songs were sung alone made me laugh! Cohen even goes to a black man’s funeral in order to procure a beard from a severed head that reappears constantly in the movie. With no bounds and no forgiveness, Sacha Baron Cohen delivers on all cylinders. 8.1 out of 10.