Did You Know CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP Is On Demand?August 31, 2011

Did You Know CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP Is On Demand?

Magnolia Pictures

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP (Magnolia).


 

Click Here For On Demand Weekly's Exclusive Interview With Director Joe Swanberg

 

 

CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP On Demand
By Chris Claro

 

So Conan O’Brien can’t stop, huh? Is that a good thing? Based on Rodman Flender’s hyper documentary of Conan’s 44-date concert tour last summer, one has to wonder. Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a bad idea for the orange-maned late-nighter to take a breather following his "The Tonight Show" debacle.

The documentary picks up almost immediately after Conan’s rancorous departure from "The Tonight Show", as he and his staff cook up a live stage show designed to maintain both the comic’s public presence and his staff’s paychecks. O’Brien, along with his longtime producer Jeff Ross, head writer Mike Sweeney, and sidekick Andy Richter contrive a spectacle that features the show’s band and guest stars ranging from Eddie Vedder to Jim Carrey to Jack White.

 



As the tour pinballs from Eugene, Oregon to New York City to the Bonaroo Festival, where a hoarse and exhausted Conan introduces Tenacious D, Flender’s cameras capture an impression of a man with a symbiotic – and sometimes unhealthy – relationship with his audience. As evidenced by the film’s title, O’Brien’s go-go-go attitude and his inability to be less than cordial to any post show hangers-on, suggest a neediness that makes the film both compelling and a little hard to watch.

Always “on” with his staff, O’Brien’s endless quipping, riffing, and improvising are alternately entertaining and exhausting. His writers and producers are a willing audience, since they know that they will have to mine the funny out of their boss’s noodling. Flender gets the audience deep inside the process of crafting the show and personalizing it for specific locations because what works in Vancouver might not fly in Vegas.

 

Speaking of flying, some of the most entertaining stuff in CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP takes place between dates, on the private jet that whisks O’Brien, Richter, and the producers around the country. One of the funniest sequences in the film has a clearly punchy post-Bonaroo Conan repeating again and again “I introduced Nas and Damien Marley today.” Not much on the page, but strangely hilarious on film.

The warts-and-all aspect of the film would have been more effective if O’Brien had been willing or able to maybe show some more warts. A polite, respectful fellow, the worst we see of Conan is when he facetiously claims that his assistant’s career is over because his fish has been cooked in butter.

He’s unfailingly gracious to backstage visitors, autograph-seeking audience members, and gets tickets for a kid who claims that someone tried to “Jew (him) down” on the price. That bigoted Neanderthal gets little more than a gentle rebuke from the comic. Whether O’Brien is incapable of a true blowup or was just guarded due to the presence of the cameras, it’s hard to tell, but a little more grit would have made CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP more interesting.

As it stands, the film is satisfying, in its depiction of both the creative process and the mindset of a man for whom performing is truly a necessity. The fragile personae of show folk have always made for compelling viewing and, as O’Brien’s ego is just as delicate as any performer’s, watching him negotiate the distance from his family with the demands of the audience and his own desire for quality makes CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP a captivating portrait of a performer.

Don’t miss it.

 

 

- Chris Claro

Chris
Chris Claro is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. He is a former Director of Promotion for Sundance Channel and now works as a writer, producer, and media educator. He is a regular contributor to dvdverdict.com and contributor to the Eyes and Ears section of huffingtonpost.com

 

Look for CONAN O’BRIEN CAN’T STOP (Magnolia) under your cable system's Movie On Demand section.


 

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