12 February 2018 | drqshadow-reviews
Unlike the Show, Too Funny to Fail Overstays its Welcome
An oral history, with clips and highlights, of one of the 1990s' most notorious flops. Riding high as a celebrated Saturday Night Live alumni, fresh graduate Dana Carvey had his choice of suitors / collaborators / formats. His picks were spot-on for everything but the broadcast partner, as he drafted a staggering cast of pre-fame talent (Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Louis CK, Robert Smigel, even a few episodes with Bob Odenkirk) but then tossed the brilliantly absurd, counter-culture fruits of their labor to primetime ABC. Even before Disney purchased the network, this marriage was doomed. It's a fundamentally simple story, perhaps too scant for a full-length feature, and that leads this documentary to feel somewhat padded. There's lots of fun material - candid footage of the baby-faced soon-to-be superstars auditioning, goofing around in the writer's room, looking back fondly upon the experience - but too often relies on highlights from the show or awkward bits stolen from other, tangentially-related programs and films. As this was produced by Hulu, which just so happens to be the show's online home, you'd think the goal would be prodding unfamiliar viewers to move right on to a binge-watch, to judge the material for themselves. Instead, I felt like I'd already done so.