Pittsburgh (2006) / Comedy-Documentary
MPAA Rated: not rated, but probably PG-13 for language
Running time: 84 min.
Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Ed Begley Jr., Illeana Douglas, Catherine Wreford, Moby, Rachelle Carson, Conan O'Brien, Craig Kilborn, Skip E. Lowe
Cameo: Alanis Morissette
Director: Chris Bradley, Kyle LaBrache
Part documentary, part mockumentary, Pittsburgh gives us a feeling that Jeff Goldblum (Man of the Year, Mini's First Time), who also serves as producer, wanted to document his return to his home town of Pittsburgh to perform in a regional theater production of "The Music Man", but thought the end product just not funny or interesting enough to merit making a movie out of.
Sorry Jeff, even with the "funny" scenes injected to spice things up, it still isn't. Though this will strongly hit home with Jeff Goldblum fans, if only to get a peek behind the scenes of how the actor operates in his off-screen time, this is too disjointed and almost without theme, and not even reality TV-type drama can make it worthy of the time and effort spent.
The true parts consist of Goldblum actually starring in the Pittsburgh production of "The Music Man" (ostensibly to help his, at that time, real-life actress fiancÚ (Wreford, Wrestlemaniac) get a work visa to stay in the country), and his appearances on late-night TV talk shows. The rest involves some guesswork, though it's safe to say that most scenes involving Moby are peppered up for laughs, including the supposition that he and co-star Illeana Douglas (The Californians, The Adventures of Pluto Nash) are a hot and heavy item. Ed Begley Jr. (For Your Consideration, A Mighty Wind) really hams up his pro-environmental stance in order to try to score some laughs, though what amusement can be had by such scenes are mild at best unless you're a disciple of Begley's.
Pittsburgh is a long way to spend 84 minutes, especially since the makers of the film have already clued us in to the fact that their creation is too boring to release without trying to inject fictional comedy as much as they can. Perhaps if the comedy were actually funny, we'd be praising the Goldblum production as a worthy successor to the Christopher Guest mockumentaries, instead of a boring documentary vanity piece that even Goldblum seems not to be quite comfortable with. Perhaps those from Pittsburgh may find his tribute to the city endearing, but the movie that bears its name is the pits.
©2008 Vince Leo