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Sunday, 22 July 2018

Review: I Am Chris Farley (2015)

I Am Chris Farley
2015
Cast: Kevin Farley, Christina Applegate, Tom Arnold, David Spade, Dan Ackroyd, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler
Genre: Documentary

Plot: A documentary on the life of comedian, Chris Farley







'Earnest, Modest Look On Tragi-Comic Performer'

Coming off the back of documentaries on the late singers, Kurt Kobain of Nirvana and Amy Winehouse, Derik Murray & Brent Hodge teamed up for the look at the comedian, Chris Farley in I Am Chris Farley.

Whereas Robin Williams hailed from the generation that included Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Bill Murray, Chris Farley came from the SNL generation of Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Farley's closest friend, David Spade of whom the pair shared the spotlight in Tommy Boy and Black Sheep and Chris Rock during the 1990s. Like with Billy Crystal, Spade was acerbic and like Robin Williams, Chris was the zany, madcap funny guy who'd throw himself in energetic comedy scenes. 

To me, Chris Farley was like part - Jim Belushi, part Robin Williams. He had a larger-than-life personality and image to go with his larger than life size and he relished in bringing forth that so-called caricature type of the 'bumbling, big - yet funny guy' image onscreen and is another comedian-turned-actor, who here, had he landed more film roles and good ones especially that harnessed his talents, he would have been as popular and well known as Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy and to a lesser extent, Mike Myers. I so would love to have seen more movies with Chris Farley in them as I enjoy his brand of comedy. 

There are mentions of Black Sheep, Tommy Boy, Beverly Hills Ninja, yet given his filmography is very short and most of his work was in stand-up, I can give it the benefit of the doubt that I can give this one a short pass.

His problems and tragedies almost echo that of Robin Williams: being readmitted to rehab several times, drug addiction, alcohol addiction (which are briefly touched upon), insecurity & self-esteem issues and the need and eagerness to please and bring sunshine to people's lives, whilst trying to fight his inner demons. I see parallels in that with Chris, as I watched this documentary and I could sense that sadness with David Spade, Tom Arnold and others. Farley's story and short life are sad to see, yet it was more complicated than the small morsels of info I got in this documentary. Aged 33, Farley died of a drug overdose at a time during the mid to late 1990s when he was just about to transition as a film star.

This is not a warts- &- all account of Farley's life but a bunch of talking heads based interviews, although the last half- hour was interesting and for someone who isn't familiar with Chris Farley, despite enjoying a few of his films, it was nice to get an insight into the type of person he truly was on the inside, as well as outside.

I'm not a religious person and the preachy ending was a bit much but other than that, I am Chris Farley seemed okay and fitting of someone who should have gone on to become a bigger movie star and landed better roles in movies. 

As documentaries on famous people, particularly those who are deceased goes, it's adequate and given that his career was so shortlived, he didn't have an extensive filmography for the documentary to grind out more footage, besides his sketch work. But watching the clips, Farley showed that potential and talent for being a madcap comic that I think audiences, in general, would have lapped up - had he'd been more successful on the film career front.




Final Verdict:

Compared to Marina Zenovich's Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, my expectations for this offering were low, as here because of my unfamiliarity with Farley, though much like with that one 'I am Chris Farley' is earnest-yet standard surface level stuff. But for one or two of his movies I've seen of his, and quite frankly, though he didn't truly breakout and become a massive star, what he had achieved, what I'd seen in this documentary, it was okay.

It's far from perfect, but for fans of Chris Farley and anyone who wants to take a keen interest in him, this is still worth seeing. 


Overall:



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