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Thursday, December 23, 2010



You can watch the trailer here

If there was ever a film that had a subtitle that fit as well as this one's ("A Piece of Work," for those of you who have no idea what a subtitle is), then I'd definitely want to see it. Miss Joan Rivers truly is a piece of work.

The film, which was directed by Anne Sundberg and Ricki Stern, follows Joan over the course of a year in her life during which she struggles to find consistent work. While passing her seventy-fifth birthday, she wonders whether her time in the limelight may be ending, but with the help of her stint on "Celebrity Apprentice," she rebounds her career and continues to be one of the premiere performers in the entertainment industry.

I will give this to the film: it paints Joan Rivers in a light that most people would probably never see. We see the vulnerability of a comedy icon as her professional life continues to spiral out of her control. There are quite a few touching scenes that make you want to fall in love with Joan and stand up and cheer for her when things go right for her.

However, there are just as many scenes where you can see that celebrity ego slip through the cracks, and it really takes away from her personal image. Going into the film, I didn't have much of an opinion of Joan herself. I had never heard her stand-up comedy aside from her Comedy Central Roast. I probably knew her most as the poster child for plastic surgery as that seems to be the most prevalent image of her in everyday society. A Piece of Work does show her doing some good things (such as taking Thanksgiving dinners to sick and home-bound individuals), but there's an aura of conceitedness that follows her around and makes its way onto the screen every now and again. As much as I wanted to like Joan, these scenes, which were few but profound and blatant, essentially kept me at a distance. I think this goes against the image the filmmakers wanted to present, and for all I know, I could be the only one who felt this way because the film garnered incredible reviews.

We do get a few interesting cameos either from archived footage or from actual interaction with Joan. Be on the look out for the likes of Kathy Griffin, Don Rickles and Johnny Carson as well as a few more familiar faces.

Overall, it's not a bad documentary by any means. Sure, I had some issues with how they portrayed her, but on the whole, this is a very intricate and intimate look at Joan Rivers, arguably one of the most important comedic icons in history.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: C+
Thumb... Slightly up

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