(out of 5)
Sandra Bernhard takes her superb live show, a ground-breaking mixture of concert and stand-up comedy, and transfers it to the big screen with mixed results. She keeps many of the monologues intact, including ruminations on the meaning of life, mentions of celebrities she knows or observes and, best of all, stories of her family, and then adds a few new ones for the sake of the film. What is missing and what was so impressive on the live audio recording is the natural spontaneity of her performers’ instincts: she hasn’t done as good a show since this one but her talents in communicating to a live audience have not waned. On film her work feels canned, and because it is missing the feedback from the crowd (not to mention some of the terrific songs, assumably for rights reasons) it doesn’t come off as funny. It has terrific moments though, and is worth cherishing considering that the audio recording has tragically gone out of print.
Directed by John Boskovich
Screenplay by Sandra Bernhard, John Boskovich
Cinematography by Joseph Yacoe
Music by Patrice Rushen
Production Design by Kevin Adams
Film Editing by Pamela Malouf