Thursday, July 7, 2011

Box Office Review - Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

The most interesting thing about this tour documentary is how it shows a different side of a very public person. It's not like the film is a big dark expose, pulling the curtain back on Conan O'Brien and exposing him as a monster. It is just a very honest look at a man who even though he is on TV four nights a week, we really only know his TV persona.

The film starts after Conan walked away from The Tonight Show, just as the idea for his cross country live tour is coming into fruition. There are a few scenes of him musing on his situation with NBC, but the film doesn't really dwell on his predicament. It is more focused on how the live tour was a way of forgetting about the mess that he left behind.

The show dubbed “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour” spanned 42 performances in 32 cities across the USA and Canada. In the film we see the creation of the stage show, rehearsals, and then the show on the road. Since it is a tour documentary, there are clips of the actually stage show in the film. This is my least favorite part of the documentary. The show was created to be seen live by an audience, not on a movie screen, and I feel that this is very apparent. I didn't find any pieces of the live performance to be that funny, but I guarantee if I had seen them live, I would have. Thankfully the majority of the film is focused on the behind the scenes goings on, and these scenes are extremely funny, and give a good look at the real Conan O Brien.

On Conan's show for NBC and now for TBS, most of his humor is self deprecating. In the behind the scenes though, most of his jokes are aimed at other people. Never in a way that is mean, but in the way that you joke around with people once you get to know them, and you know that they can take a joke. I found this to be very fascinating, as it isn't the type of humor that Conan is known for, so it was like seeing him do a completely new act. These scenes are very funny, and I laughed more in this film than I have in any comedy this year.

Along with these humorous behind the scenes clips, the film does a fantastic job at covering what it is like to be a person in the public eye, and just how strenuous this can be. After every performance, which appear to be absolutely exhausting, Conan does meet and greets with fans willing to pay a premium to interact with him. Overtime these engagements become the last thing that he wants to do. The film makes you sympathize with Conan, and realize how difficult it must be to be in position where people are always wanting something from you. This is most apparent after the New York show, when Conan greet his many adoring fans waiting outside. He is shown as being more than willing to sign autographs for the fans, but he declines taking pictures do to the fact that it is a time consuming processes. Even though this is a valid point, people still hound him for pictures. His response to the situation after it is over is negative, and I don't blame him. The idea of keeping up a persona, especially one as high energy as Conan's just seems exhausting.

I was very pleased with Conan O'Brien Can't Stop. It gives a interesting glimpse into Conan's life without being too invasive, and he comes across as a genuinely nice person. I laughed a lot throughout the film, and had a great time watching it.

A Gold Banana

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