'Jiminy Glick': Martin, Short on Laughs

By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 6, 2005

Never was this funny a comedian in this horrible a movie. Martin Short's portly, tart-tongued and quite possibly extraterrestrial Jiminy Glick is one of the most hilarious, original creations in the post-"SCTV" comedy realm. A Falstaffian figure who lives and breathes show business in a supremely irritating manner, he peppers his showbiz interviewees with crushing zingers in the guise of softball questions. And he has some bizarre fluctuations in his voice, from "The Exorcist"-style basso profundo to something approaching castrato. He's a perfect metaphor for our increasingly sticky connection to the entertainment media; we are becoming so connected to what we watch, there seems to be no dividing wall anymore.

"LaLaWood" has a tortured conceit in which Jiminy goes to the Toronto Film Festival and, through a series of contrived circumstances, lands an exclusive interview with a reclusive Hollywood star, Ben DiCarlo (Corey Pearson). Suddenly everyone wants to be interviewed by Jiminy, and he's in the big time.

And in the movie's most left-field David Lynchian subplot (complete with Short playing Lynch as a Rod Serling-like host), Jiminy believes he may be guilty of murdering an actress, perhaps under hypnosis. Don't ask. The best thing about this movie are the interviews Jiminy has with Steve Martin (playing himself). As Jiminy's insults get more and more scathing, Martin tries not to laugh. He fails miserably. Short is a riotfest. It's too bad he's in a film that even Pauly Shore would have rejected. There's a lot of sleazy low-grade humor, too, as we get into Jiminy's dysfunctional sex life with his wife. Why are these crudities necessary? Jiminy's so funny without them -- or this movie, come to think of it.

Jiminy Glick in Lalawood (R, 90 minutes) -- Contains graphic obscenity and sexual situations. At Landmark's Bethesda Row, National Amusements Fairfax and Cineplex Odeon Dupont Circle.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company