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cover: Smith, Kevin: An Evening With

Smith, Kevin: An Evening With

Director(s): J.M. Kenny

Theatrical Release: 2002

Cast: Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes

Genre(s): stand-up comedy, Comedy, Documentary, Dean's List

Countries: USA

Location in store: American Cinema > Kevin Smith

(1 / 1)
Ant Rating
Running Time: Disc 1-128m. Disc2-97m.

The commentaries on the DVDs of Kevin Smith's films are legendary, and generally regarded as just as funny as the films themselves (or arguably funnier, in the case of Mallrats). Smith is incredibly candid, which is refreshing from a filmmaker, and, despite his success and legions of fans, he's never lost his "regular guy" mindset. He's always the first to admit that his movies aren't exactly visual masterpieces, and he certainly respects even the nerdier subset of his devotees. Plus, the guy can really tell a good d*** and/or fart joke.

Smith has long been active on the internet, keeping live journals chronicling the production of his movies or posting on his official site's message board. He made his real impact on fans, though, through his tour of college campuses across the country. For a couple hours, he'll simply go out on stage and let the audience lob questions at him at random. He's got a lot of great stories about Hollywood and about the idiocy of the movie business, but more than that, he's hilarious, and a great storyteller. He can craft a punch line out of the most mundane set-up, and he redefines self-deprecation (and gets a lot of mileage out of the "I grew up fat" routine).

Documentary filmmaker J.M. Kenny, who has worked on dozens of DVD making-of pieces, including those for the Smith's Mallrats and Dogma, happened to catch one of the college appearances, and suggested to Kevin that they begin to film them. Thus, An Evening with Kevin Smith was born. This four-hour program is pieced together from four different college visits. The camerawork isn't exactly exciting—for the most part, it just focuses on Kevin onstage, with cuts to the audience when a question is asked or there is a lot of laughter—but the static set-ups do little to impact the humor. Kenny has edited together what basically amounts to an interactive stand-up routine, and there's nary a bad joke in the bunch.

Some highlights: most comic book fans know that Smith was hired by Warner Bros to write a draft of the Superman screenplay. The film never was released. Want to know why? Because, Smith says, the producer, John Peters, is "totally insane." Hearing Kevin talk about the man's obsession with spiders will shed a whole new light on Wild Wild West. Then there's the story of the "feud" between Smith and director Tim Burton over the ending of the Planet of the Apes remake. I guess Burton is kind of crazy, too. Surprise! The biggest loon, though, is Prince, and Smith's story about shooting an eventually aborted documentary for the pipsqueak pop star is alternately the funniest and most bizarre story on the disc. Recently Michael Jackson revealed just how disconnected from the real world a megastar can be and got a lot of attention doing it. Smith could of told you the same thing without the aid of a 20/20 interview.

Judging on a laugh-per-minute scale, this is easily one of the best DVD values of the year. It's certainly funnier than most alleged comedies I've seen recently. As long as you aren't offended by naughty language and raunchy sexual humor (wait until you hear the story of how Kevin met his wife!), you'll more than likely get your money's worth with a rental or purchase. (