Here’s the thing about comedians: most of them are only interesting when they’re being funny. The problem with “Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show,” a documentary chronicling the “Wedding Crashers” star as he and his friends tour the countryside in summer 2005, is that it doesn’t understand this simple fact. Director Ari Sandel shows only short clips of the actual stand-up acts, sandwiching them between tour bus footage and unfunny interviews with the comics themselves. For a movie with “Vince Vaughn” and “Comedy” in the title, it’s astonishing how dull it is.
Vaughn, the tour’s emcee, is only visible for about a fifth of the film’s screen time. Not surprisingly, he anchors the funniest bits taken from the tour. In an opening skit, he and Jon Favreau mess around with Justin Long, and in another scene he reenacts an old “after-school special” movie onstage with friend Peter Billingsley (“A Christmas Story”). Most of the film, though, is focused on the relatively unknown comics who tour and perform at each venue. The best of the bunch is Ahmed Ahmed, who uses his Egyptian heritage as the jumping-off point for his act. At the other end of the spectrum, John Caparulo’s “Blue Collar Comedy”-inspired humor seems stale and out of place.
It’s clear that “Wild West” means well, and there’s a good-hearted segment where the comics hand out free show tickets to Hurricane Katrina refugees. Unfortunately, the film suffers from a lack of actual stand-up, and from wrongly assuming that the mere presence of comedians on screen is enough to hold an audience’s interest.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
“Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days and 30 Nights – Hollywood to the Heartland”
At the Quality 16 and Showcase