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The Jimmy Show

Starring Frank Whaley
Screenplay by Frank Whaley;
based on the play, "Veins and Thumbtacks", by Jonathan Mark Sherman
Directed by Frank Whaley
no website

IN SHORT: strictly art house. [Rated R for language. 99 minutes ]

Jimmy O'Brien (Frank Whaley) is a big thinking man without any kind of luck whatsoever. His brilliant idea for a machine which cooks hot dogs and buns at the same time, called the "Toaster-Man," bombs (now you can buy a similar machine from the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog) as does a similar get rich quick schemes involving rare coins. Jimmy works in the stock room at the local Tops Supermarket and isn't bright enough to know the meaning of the word "pregnant" when girlfriend Annie (Carla Gugino) comes a calling one day. Jimmy's got an invalid grandmother to watch after -- he buys her pills and carries her around when the wheelchair won't do -- but he does the right thing and marries Annie.

But what Jimmy wants to do, really, is become a successful stand up comedian. He's got routines written on index cards. He practices in the mirror. He drops a tape off at the local club, not realizing that they've got an open mic twice a week. Show up. Sign up. Get ten minutes. Simple. When Jimmy finally gets up on stage, he bombs. He's nervous. He stutters. He forgets his material. But he keeps going back to try again, again and again. And bombs every time, though he's too thick to realize he's not funny.

Frank Whaley's The Jimmy Show presents stand up as an alternative to expensive psychotherapy. Jimmy spills his guts onstage as we see equivalent scenes play out in his personal life. The failure creates an almost oppressive feeling as you watch the slug sabotage himself at every turn, whether at work or in his personal life. Jimmy's happy little world is fleshed out by once upon a time co-worker and stoner pal Ray (Ethan Hawke) Annie's mom Emily (Joanna Merlin) and his invalid mother Ruth (Lynn Cohen) and, given its release among the glut of other, bigger budgeted depressing flicks, it can only hope for some heavy powered critical support to push it to the surface.

Nope. The film festival circuit loves this stuff. Not us. We're not even thrilled when big budgets are tossed into the mix, but that's a film review that you'll have to wait until Christmas to read.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Jimmy Show, he would have paid . . .


If you love the art house, see it there if you can find it. Else rent.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.