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DVD Review: Natural Born Komics

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Pauly Shore was born into a comedy family. The son of Mitzi Shore, who founded the legendary Los Angeles club The Comedy Store, and comedian Stan Shore, Pauly spent his formative years around a lot of different comics. After graduating from Beverly Hills High School in 1986, Shore landed a series of bit parts in films such as 18 Again! and guest spots on television shows including Married With Children, 21 Jump Street, and St. Elsewhere.

Pauly became an MTV phenomenon when he landed his own show on the network in 1989. Totally Pauly, hosted by Shore with sidekick Jeff Leiber ran on the network until 1994. Pauly was sort of like the network's eternal fifteen-year-old. Clad in colorful bandanas, looking like a poster boy for stoner culture, Pauly was famous for hosting MTV's annual spring break parties. Having coined the phrase "weeeeee..zell!," Shore road his wave of to a couple of sucessful comedy albums and a series of hit movies during the nineties.

But Alas, Pauly Shore is that tiring sort of entertainer whose overused juvenile humor quickly wears thin. Shore's success quickly began to fade as soon as Totally Pauly went off the air. Ever tenacious, Pauly continues to look for a vehicle that will put him back on the map. His latest attempt, Natural Born Komics, was written, directed, and produced by Shore himself. Since Natural Born Komics originally aired on Showtime, I'm a tad confused as to why the DVD release is now being referred to as a "sketch comedy movie." At just about forty-eight minutes, Natural Born Komics hardly qualifies as a movie in my book; splitting hairs maybe, but I was already getting off on the wrong foot with this one.

pauly.jpgThe first segment of the "movie" sets the tone for the entire project. We find Pauly on a mission to find a woman for himself. He tries to accomplish this by telling people he is famous (they don't seem to know who he is), and tries to get them to have sex with him. When his friend comes by and announces he's getting married, Shore blames his buddy for his failure with the ladies. All of this isn't the least bit funny, but Pauly soldiers on. Pauly gives us a spoof of Cheaters, playing a fast food restaurant employee who finds out his wife is cheating with a little person. Even less funnier than the first segment, it's becoming increasingly clear that watching Natural Born Komics is a waste of forty-eight minutes in my life I'm never going to get back.

It only goes downhill from there. Next, Pauly goes to a Miami nightclub and does a bunch of drug jokes. Stale and over-the top, it feels like the audience is made up of his family and friends, there to give their brethren encouragement. Maybe some people just didn't have anything to do that night and wanted to see what the dude from Encino Man looks like now. Once that's over, Pauly returns to his loose interpretation of sketch comedy by portraying FOX News' Greta Van Susteren and tennis star John McEnroe. If you're expecting some smart political satire, forget it. Pauly seems to work juvenile sex acts into each skit.

Just when you think things can't possibly get any lower, Pauly finds a way to be completely unfunny and insensitive in one fell swoop. Apparently, Shore thought it would be hilarious to play "Ashton Kutcher's totally retarded brother, Jimmy Kutcher." Oh yeah, I can't wait! It'll be a classic. Where did this guy come up with this stuff? In the skit, "Jimmy" hosts a show called S'punked, and plays some dumb pranks on Charlie Murphy (Chappelle's Show).You'd think Natural Born Komics would be out of gas by now, but we're only halfway through.

After some more stand-up and reheated parodies, Shore does the absolute worst impression of Tony Montana in Scarface ever committed to film. Sadly, Steven Bauer who played Pacino's best buddy in the original film joins Pauly in this train wreck. I know Bauer has had some tough times in recent years, but this is strictly bottom of the barrel stuff. Shore is joined by other celebrities including Vivica A. Fox, American Idol winner Ruben Studdard (wasn't he supposed to be the next Luther Vandross?), and T Pain, all of whom have seen better days.

We are mercifully creeping to the end of this Pauly Shore interlude, but our "weeeeee..zell" isn't quite done yet. Pauly needs to do some more immature things with women! Toward the end of this horrid experience, Pauly reveals his girlfriend, a model named Jewel. Now, Jewel is no shrinking violet, as she appears nude in the movie for several minutes. Jewel even dances naked for Pauly's friends as part of a prank.

I have seen lots of bad DVDs in my time, but rarely have I been moved to applaud when one ends. Natural Born Komics is simply one of the worst things I have seen in a long time. I work hard to find something positive in every DVD I watch, but Komics simply has no redeeming value. In the DVD's "Making of the Movie" featurette, Shore comes across as an angry, bitter, conceited man who refuses to grow up and accept he's not the star he once was.

Ordinarily I would tell you the specifics about the video and audio quality of the title just reviewed. In the case of Natural Born Komics it will suffice to say that the video quality is absolutely terrible. Unstable and at times unfocused, it looks like this project could have been shot using a really cheap video camera, maybe even a cell phone at times. The audio is of the same lousy quality.

The special features include the 20-minute "Making of the Movie" and a half hour of bloopers and deleted scenes.

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