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The Comedian (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 120 minutes.

Not for children.

While this is peopled by actors like Robert De Niro,  Danny DeVito, Patty LuPone, Charles Grodin, Jimmie Walker, and Harvey Keitel, who have seen better days, it is well directed by Taylor Hackford. Even though there are four credits for the screenplay, and I won’t bore you by listing them, maybe some of them were there to write the one-liners that washed-up stand-up comic Jackie Burke (De Niro) mouths throughout the film.

Because he beat up a heckler (Happy Anderson), Jackie gets out of a short jail sentence and meets up with his manager, Miller (Edie Falco) who does her best to find him gigs even though he grouses about them.

Eventually he meets up with Harmony (Leslie Mann, in a sparkling performance) who is the daughter of a fast talking Florida real estate magnate (Keitel) and affection blossoms.

Actually the best part of the movie, in addition to the fine performances by De Niro and Mann and the others, is comprised of Jackie’s foul mouth monologues that he delivers to any audience available.

There are also a few neo-progressive positions that director Hackford has foisted upon his audience. But anyone watching movies these days must either become immune to these things or give up movies.

This is a profane but lighthearted  look at a comedian who has seen better days that is more funny than serious. De Niro presents himself as a very good standup, but, then, he is a good actor and a good actor should be able to play anything convincingly.