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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner: Extended and Uncut (review)

I presume that the fact that “roasts” have been around forever means that people really like them — roasters, roastees, and audiences alike — but I can’t see how that can possibly be the case. The pointlessly crude, insulting “jokes” about the weight, addictions, talent (or lack thereof), and sexual proclivities of the “entertainers” in attendance here prompt guffaws that seem strained and aimed directly at the camera, as if everyone has to prove what a sport they are in the face of such mean-spirited and unnecessary insults. Most of them look like they’d really rather cry but they desperately need the paycheck; it’s like watching a stripper pretend she’s really turned on to be disrobing for a crowd of pervs. And that’s even before we get to everyone making nasty fun of Shatner. Fans of the actor may get a kick out of the rare clips of the man hamming it up as he sings classic pop songs, or hawks margarine in old TV commercials, but beyond that, there’s nothing here to divert any but the less discriminating viewers as Shatner is taunted by people you’ve heard of but couldn’t care less about — Andy Dick, Jeffrey Ross — and some seemingly pulled off the street, like “Patton Oswalt” and “Greg Giraldo.” Extras include behind-the-scenes footage, red-carpet interviews, and a making-of featurette. [buy at Amazon]

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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