22 October 2011 | StevePulaski
Too fat for forty, but too informative to be ignored
Kevin Smith is one of the most prolific talkers in the film world today which is something I highly admire about him. I love when filmmakers don't try and get all pretentious by leaving many of their film secrets kept. Smith is such an open book, if you asked him how was his day it would eventually drift into a conversation about the first time he smoked weed or the first time he swore. He is one of the most professional conversation drifters I've ever seen.
What I love about him is mainly the fact that he can talk for literally hours. I reviewed his previous Q&A film An Evening With Kevin Smith which introduced me to his very long and powerful Q&A sessions where he visited different college and spoke to various students about his experiences. His insight it truly inspiring, and his presence gives me a sort of strength and urgency I've never felt in a person before. Seeing him makes my face light up, and listening to him speak is so insightful you might just have to extend your schedule to hear more.
The first twenty-five minutes of this three and a half hour special is Kevin Smith taking his shot at stand-up. He talks about how after he was kicked off of the Southwest Airlines flight in February 2010, him and his buddy Malcolm Ingram took a prom-bus with "broken promises and dignity on the floor." At the twenty-five minute mark, Smith realizes that stand-up is not his cup of tea and switches gears to a Q&A session where he takes the whole show to answer one person's question.
Smith discusses his non-View Askew films like Jersey Girl and Zack and Miri Make a Porno he seems hesitant and somewhat sad. Smith claims that he doesn't consider his first four films actually films rather than just long conversations. I think he's the kind of person who does something for a while, then tries to something totally different, and then gets criticized and unfairly compared to his previous works.
Take Jersey Girl for example - a very good, very cheery, very emotional romantic comedy complete with a great cast of Affleck, Biggs, and Carlin. It was the first Kevin Smith film with no reprising characters, no Jason Mewes, and no lengthy monologues about toilet humor. It barely broke even at the box office, and many came out with a sour taste in their mouth. It isn't a bad film, but what would the reaction be if the film came out under a different director as a debut? As for Zack and Miri Make a Porno, it was considered a flop and was a big embarrassment for Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier. Smith explains the reason for the failing was the iffy subject matter, the limited marketing (which ended the relationship between Smith and Harvey Weinstein but that's a whole different story), and a rather under-sold plot. Smith states that it was his mistake because instead of "going where the puck isn't" like Wayne Gretzsky's father said he went were the puck was.
I think Smith struggles to earn more than a cult following because you could see Zack and Miri was trying to bank off of Apatow's success. It was a fair film, but lacked everything Kevin Smith does well - dialog and believable characters. It was a third-rate Apatow flick with chuckle-inducing humor and very under-developed characters.
I will recommend Kevin Smith: Too Fat for 40 the same way I did An Evening With Kevin Smith. I'll recommend it to hardcore Smith fans or fans of lengthy and informative Q&A sessions. People who "like" Kevin Smith films will not get my reaction to it, and will likely be disinterested for the three and a half hours this film occupies. It was nothing but insightful for a big fan like myself, and gives fans a hint that his retirement after his next two films will not only cut off his amazing films but will also further mystify the character behind all those cute jokes.
Performed by: Kevin Smith. Directed by: Joey Figueroa and Zak Knutson.