20 January 2006 | moonspinner55
Comedienne Margaret Cho's fourth concert film is the weakest yet...
Margaret Cho is and probably always will be a highly adept stand-up performer, ingratiating and unafraid of looking silly or sounding caustic; however, her fourth filmed concert, "Assassin", falls a bit short. Cho, much thinner here with her messy hair pulled back, has somehow evolved into the gay world's Everywoman, a best friend who is immediately at the ready when injustice strikes. She's a protester, an activist, a fight-for-our-rights loudspeaker against unacceptable inequality. This isn't new territory for Cho, however this is the first film she's done which is so politically charged and challenging (Cho says in the companion DVD documentary that she is not "angry", she's simply confused). Comparisons to Lenny Bruce, however, may seem a bit premature, especially as Cho has begun to leave her more personal comical experiences by the wayside--and those were her strongest moments. "Assassin" is a diatribe on President Bush, the Pope, "the gay agenda", Terry Schiavo, Bjork, and feminism--not the kind of material (recorded, by the way, in front of a nervous-seeming Washington, D.C. audience) that makes for big laughs. When Cho nails a gag (and then milks it wholeheartedly), she can be side-splittingly effective, and her segues into different topics are wonderfully smooth. But she doesn't seem quite in tune with this particular live audience, and too much of the material is hammered home without thoughtful ripples or nuances. Cho is still a cheerful presence, and fun to watch and listen to, but her more angular face and slimmer appearance (and a throatier voice?) have intruded on her body language and her vocal tricks. She's still special, she's still "the one to want", but she's running the risk of becoming just like everybody else. ** from ****