Entertainment is a continuation of the Christopher Guest/Andy Kauffman movies where everyday activities and conversations are held, but with no particular logical sequencing and with a heavy dose of whatever disgusting, repellant images the filmmakers can think up (particularly those having to do with sexual and other bodily functions). This one is written by the lead actor, Gregg Turkington, and directed by Rick Alverson.
The loose setup is that Turkington is an “entertainer” in low-life clubs or bars across the country. In addition, some of the action takes place out in the California desert, sometimes on a table and/or chairs sitting in the sand, perhaps at a correctional center, perhaps on a tour with a tour guide, although Turkington usually wanders off to do his own thing. The “entertainment” seems to be an exploration of just what people will laugh at, and laugh they do, particularly when pain or disgusting images are involved.
Turkington hires temps to perform with him, like Frank (Stockwell) and Eddie (Sheridan), one dressed as a clown and jumping up on tables taunting the audience, and one miming masturbation and defecation. Much of the time, particularly in the beginning, it was only members of the audience in the film who were chuckling. At one point, Gregg’s cousin John (Reilly) attends, wanting to support him and give helpful advice, but he ends up criticizing The Comedian (Turkington) instead. To me, Reilly is about the only character I come close to chuckling at because of his usual droll style, slightly masked critical observation, and quirky logic. For instance, here he associates a reference to Liza Minnelli with the movie The Wizard of Oz. Then he says, “And what was that song my mother used to always cry at?” Whereupon, he breaks out into song…but it’s “Away in a Manger.” At other points, characters burst into out-of-tune songs, and these are funny parts as well. But for the most
part, this film repelled me.
Entertainment is for those who take to ribald comedy, but for most of us, it’s boring and a turn-off.
Grade: D By Donna R. Copeland