Film Review: Josh's Review of SUCH A FUNNY LIFE
Starring: Gonzalo Trigueros, Jesse Ray Sheps, Tom Ashton, Wilma Rivera, Jacques Point Du Jour, Neil Hellegers.
Written and Directed by: Oliver Mann.
Such a Funny Life is a film that examines that cliche that: while comedy can perceivably appear easy, the real life experiences that inspire it, can be undeniably hard. Directed by Oliver Mann, this feature film follows the rise and fall of a young comedian named David Gutierrez - a man struggling both to build his dream of being a stand-up comic, while also striving to save his sanity.
Portrayed by actors Gonzalo Trigueros and Jesse Ray Sheps, respectfully, the film provides us a glimpse at the lead character of David Gutierrez both as a young boy and as a grown man. As a young boy, we, as the audience, witness David's upbringing in an abusive home: which not only includes his physically abusive father, but also his mentally-disturbed mother and his sister, Gabriella. After one particularly violent incident, David and Gabriella attempt to escape their house by running down the street; unfortunately, this results in Gabriella's death after being hit by a car.
From there, we see how this upbringing and tragedy shapes David's relatively nomadic existence as an adult, as he hops between homelessness and working odd jobs. Eventually, he soon settles into a job bagging drugs for Robert, an old school friend (played by Jacques Point Du Jour). It is here that David also sparks a romantic relationship with a drug addict named Marcella (played by Wilma Rivera) - a character, who, in many ways, acts as a stand-in for the sister and the mother David couldn't save from his father.
Though this time bagging drugs steadily carries David down a dead end path, he finds a life-line in the form of a stand-up comic named Chip (played by Neil Hellegers), who mentors David on how to channel his personal pain into his comedy and thereby refine his jokes. As their bond continues to develop, Chip encourages David to come with him to Los Angeles to start a comedy troupe; however, thanks to the "baggage" that David carries, he instead finds himself being drawn back to the toxic people that were wrecking his life in the first place.
Such a Funny Life is a beautiful and tragic movie. Oliver Mann manages to hit all the right buttons story wise and thoroughly maximizes the talents of the cast provided to him. For instance, throughout the stand up segments of the film, the cast effectively captures the reality that the jokes which comedians typically tell are not born out of humor, but out of pain. Additionally, thanks to Mann's direction, the setting of New York and L.A. effectively become characters all their own - as Mann uses muted light when David is in New York, but brighter, more radiant light when he's in Los Angeles - to contrast where David is vs. where he wants to be. All in all, Such a Funny Life is a must see film that proves that behind the comedy that we enjoy from our favorite comedians may lie far darker origins.
Overall grade: A+
Such A Funny Life releases on August 13, 2019.