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Hot Docs 2015 Review: Committed

Committed, directed by Reed Grinsell, Howie Mandel and Steve Sunshine, is, as far as we can tell, about how the diminutive Vic Cohen greatly appealed to Howie Mandel.

Mandel ended up hiring Cohen to write for his talk show The Howie Mandel Show. When the show gets cancelled, the relationship continued. This, despite, the film keeps insisting, Cohen having very little in the way of comedic talent, and furthermore, is not quite memorable, or a standout in any sort of way. What Vic Cohen has going for him is a lot of ambition.

It is tough to believe that Mandel would invest so much time and energy towards helping Cohen along, or that Mandel, Sunshine and Grinsell would spend so much of the film showing Cohen at his lowest, only to somehow recover.

For example, a scene in which Mandel and Cohen receive advice from Debbie Reynolds lead into a stand-up performance by Cohen where he seems to purposely defy Reynolds’ advice, (yet to simultaneously take her suggestions to heart). Then Cohen manages to salvage a flawed act by using very less than the sum of his convictions. Why would he come to a comedy show so ill-prepared, planning only to fly by on the seat of his pants, (or lack thereof)?

But then the film seems be a modern riff on The King of Comedy, with Mandel playing Jerry Langford to Cohen’s Rupert Pupkin.

It’s amazing how much humour can come from a little bit of anti-humour.

[star v=35]